International Engineering Ambassadors
Insight into the life & course of international students.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016


“Everything else in astronomy is like the eye,” said Szabolcs Marka – Columbia University Professor, “Finally, astronomy grew ears. We never had ears before.”
From the dawn of man-kind, all we know about the vast universe was a result of what we could see. Be it visible light for stargazers or UV and IR waves for the Hubble space telescope or micro and radio waves blasting from the core of galaxies. Today, however, the magnificent discovery by LIGO has placed another type of vibration in the limelight – gravitational waves.
The two set-ups at Louisiana and Washington each consisted of L-shaped antennas, with two arms 2.5 miles long perpendicular to each other. Encased in each arm is a vacuum chamber, a few feet wide consisting of 2.5 million gallons of empty space. At the end of each arm are mirror hanging by glass threads isolated from all types of vibrations from sound to heat!

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The source of a light source is split into 2 beams that then collide with mirrors and return to a detector. When the 2 beams return in phase, they cancel each other out and hence, no signal is recorded. However, on September 14th 2015 at 4a.m a loud signal came through at the Livingston site. Seven milliseconds later, the signal hit the Hanford site. Now, this may just seem to be pure coincidence, but the scientists at LIGO mathematically determined that the chance of such signals landing simultaneously by pure chance was virtually impossible.
Funny enough though, when this ground breaking data was streaming the American team was busy sleeping – no offence intended but it was 4 a.m. in the morning so you wouldn’t expect them to be wide awake. However, their counterparts in the European team were more than excited about this discovery.
The detector recorded a flickering light and turned it into a sound wave. The sound recorded by the 2 set-ups sounds like a chirp which is the echo of the mirage of the two black holes that merged billions of years ago.
Hearing a gravitational wave has opened up a new kind of astronomy - for the first time we are using our ears along with our eyes to unravel the mysteries of the space. Now, since our ears have been tuned to the mysterious music of the cosmos we might be able to hear and interpret sounds than we had ever imagined before. All in all, this discovery has paved way  for a wide range of brainstorming in the scientific world because this sheds more interest into topics such as teleportation, time travel, parallel universes, multiverses and what so and what not…

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…because if the fabric of space time can be bent                                                                                                                                                                                                     

 who says it can’t be folded,                      
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and connected?
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