LIGO Document G1101201-v1

Catching Einstein's waves

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The Universe is a very eventful place: stars in our Milky Way and all other galaxies are coalescing with each other and exploding, black holes are being born and swallowing other little stars, while all stars and galaxies are swimming a warm bath of waves generated shortly after the Big Bang... we have so far learned about these events from the light that reaches the Earth from the stars - many different kinds of light (visible, radio, X-rays,...). But we are waiting for very different messengers bringing information from stars' lives: these are "Einstein's messengers", with the message written as in the fabric of space time, traveling from the starry sources to our planet and everywhere else. We have been building very special telescopes to read these messages - these LIGO "telescopes" have laser beams traveling back and forth between mirrors suspended in vacuum, with the laser beams telling us about the distortion in distances between those mirrors: these are Einstein's waves, and will be ready to be caught very soon, as I will show.
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