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Since then, the distant signals from colliding black holes have been detected multiple times. Just this August, a third observatory in Italy detected waves as well, and by the 2020s we may have a total of five detectors around the world. More observatories add confidence to the detection, as well as accuracy. Like triangulating a person’s position on Earth using satellites, having more perspectives on the same object enables a better estimation of that object’s location.
In this case, though, the object we’re looking at is a pair of colliding black holes. When the two bodies come closer together, they rotate around each other faster and faster, spinning hundreds of times per second, until they finally merge. As they do, they ripple the fabric of spacetime.
Albert - Einstein - Century - Waves - Events
Albert Einstein theorized a century ago that these gravitational waves existed—including from celestial events other than colliding black holes—but thought humans might never be able to build a sensor that could detect such a tiny movement. LIGO was able to do it using enormous L-shaped arms with a detector at the intersection. The detector portion sends...
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