Feeds

back to article GRAV WAVE TSUNAMI boffinry BONANZA – the aftershock of the universe's Big Bang

A team of astrophysicists has announced a sighting of gravitational waves – formed in the first trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second after the universe as we know it blinked into existence. The breakthrough discovery throws enormous weight behind the famous inflationary Big Bang theory. The boffins must be …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Silver badge
Pint

Awesome discovery

Pints all around!

Here is an explanatory pic.

http://www.newscientist.com/data/images/ns/cms/dn25235/dn25235-1_1200.jpg

9
0

Congratulations to the team ...

... but nowadays one is more likely to get a Nobel Prize just for looking good on television and being able to read a ghost-written speech from a teleprompter, without actually having achieved anything.

9
10
Bronze badge
Paris Hilton

Re: Congratulations to the team ...

Phil, are you saying Barraco Barner didn't deserve his? Shurely shome mishtake...

9
1

Re: Congratulations to the team ...

I didn't mention any names ...

2
0

Re: Congratulations to the team ...

"Barraco Barner" Hate to own up, but back in 2007, on the first few times I heard his name on the radio (before I saw it written down) I thought the man running for president against John McCain was called Barry Cobalmer. And I can still never be quite sure whether it's McCain or McClane who was in a Die Hard movies.

1
0
Bronze badge

Re: Congratulations to the team ...

You seem to be confusing the Peace Prize with the other ones. They are awarded by different commitees, for different critera, and "Not being G.W. Bush" is generally not one of them. Although they have occasionally made egregious errors.

2
0
Silver badge

"detected"

I thought this was an observation of distant possible effects that very closely match theoretical predictions - not a true "detection" as such. The detection would be made (if ever) by those very long interferometers with laser beams at right angles to each other, where the compression of space by a passing gravitational wave would be 'detected'?

5
0
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: "detected"

"an observation of distant possible effects that very closely match theoretical predictions"

That won't fit in a headline, mate.

Also, our prof says: "It's the first detection of gravitational waves."

C.

7
0
Silver badge

Re: "detected"

Yep this would seem to be more indirect evidence of gravity waves (which we have plenty) but I guess measuring a change in the CMB is as good as measuring a change in matter to some. Also it is largely confirming the Big Bang which is pretty much been accepted for quite some time now. Its good to make it official and to add more evidence but a breakthrough (except perhaps for the neat measuring technology) is a bridge too far imho.

1
2
Pint

Re: "detected"

That's right. Until now, gravitational waves have only been inferred by observing the motion of binary systems (a bit like watching boats bobbing up and down in the water). This research shows something a bit more like a mark a wave left when it passed by a very long time ago.

So it is not outright detection, i.e., observing a gravitational wave passing by today, but it is very interesting none-the-less.

Beers all round.

3
0
Silver badge

Re: "detected"

I'm going to go ahead and speculate now that we are never going to directly observe a gravity wave. It is just too weak.

The scales - both large and small - are mind boggling. The discussion is at the level of planck lengths and planck time. We're talking about a time when the granularity of dimensionality itself leaves fingerprints.

You know the observable universe is big and heavy - hundreds of billions of galaxies a hundred billion lightyears across. Imagine you had two of them right next to each other. They would affect each other by gravity, right - at least at the edges? Now shrink the pair so small that trillions of the pair lined up would not span the width of a single proton and they're still right next to each other so the gravity is so much more intense by proximity. One of these is our observable universe, and one of these is a mass that has now fallen outside our "light cone". Now move the second one 16 degrees across what will someday be our sky in 1x10^-44th of a second. That is the scale of gravity wave we're talking about. Entire observable universes worth of energy density swinging whole degrees across the sky because at a scale that small, that is the indivisible increment of a meaningful distance.

It is horrifyingly beautiful.

3
1
Bronze badge

Re: "detected" -"That won't fit in a headline, mate."

True but - GRAVITY WAVES IN SPAAAAAAACE would!

Anyway, why is everybody just talking about the Big Bang this is about Inflation after the BB.

The skewed polarization of the CMB by gravity waves is a prediction from one of the Inflation Hypothesis models. The observation matches that prediction and thus is a 'smoking gun' for both inflation and gravity waves.

Another box ticked for Relativity, wasn't Einstein a clever chap.

2
0

Re: "detected"

You said "today" which has a funny meaning in this context. (Just had to share a candid observation.) Are we viewing "today" 14 billion years ago, like it is happening now?

0
0
Silver badge

Re: "detected"

"Discovered" might be the word. This is the the first paper claiming an observation of gravity waves at five sigmas, which is the level required to use the word discovery in that field. There are many other implicit findings as well.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: "Beers all round"

I find that I am much more sensitive to graviational waves after a few beers.

0
0
Silver badge

"expansion of space briefly exceeded the speed of light "

Not really a good way of describing it I think. The 'expansion' was driven by a 'phase-change' in spacetime itself AFAIK.

Great science (I hope)

2
0
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: "expansion of space briefly exceeded the speed of light "

"Not really a good way of describing"

How would you describe it?

C.

0
0

Re: "expansion of space briefly exceeded the speed of light "

One quick and dirty way that gets the idea across, if crudely, is "space was unfolding so fast that objects in space would seem to recede from each other at greater than the speed of light." If, you know, there were "objects" during the inflationary period (which there weren't) or you could see them (which you couldn't).

6
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: "expansion of space briefly exceeded the speed of light "

"would seem to recede from each other at greater than the speed of light"

Not seem. They did. And still do.

The speed of light is only a limit on objects as they move through space. The movement of space itself, however, can make the speed of light seem slow. Nothing can move through space faster than light. Space however can move as fast as it wants as it has no mass. Even now parts of the universe that are very far apart from each other are moving apart faster than light.

6
0
Silver badge

Re: "expansion of space briefly exceeded the speed of light "

> Not seem.

Yes seem. No object is moving at more than light speed, which is a good thing as that is impossible.

Let's say you're walking forward inside a train moving at 200 km/h. Inside the train, in your reference frame, your walking speed is 2 km/h like it's always been, but to an observer outside the train it might seem as if you're walking at an incredible 202 km/h.

An example: the most distant galaxy found is roughly 30 billion light years away, but the universe is only 14 billion years old, and light clearly can't move faster than the speed of light in vacuum -- so how could the light have reached us? Because the universe, the ruler you're measuring the distance with, is expanding.

3
3
Silver badge

Re: "expansion of space briefly exceeded the speed of light "

"How would you describe it?"

I thought I just did - certainly not as 'exceeding light speed - it has no meaning in this context

2
0

Re: "expansion of space briefly exceeded the speed of light "

Well that just done my head in, how do we know one is 30b light years away when the light couldn't possibly have reached us?

2
0

Re: "expansion of space briefly exceeded the speed of light "

Coz it surfed on FTL spacetime. Whheeeeeeeeeee!

1
0
Bronze badge

Re: "expansion of space briefly exceeded the speed of light "

"Let's say you're walking forward inside a train moving at 200 km/h. Inside the train, in your reference frame, your walking speed is 2 km/h like it's always been, but to an observer outside the train it might seem as if you're walking at an incredible 202 km/h."

But if the train was moving at c (the speed of light) relative to an observer, it would seem to the observer that you're both moving at c; even though to you you're moving forwards along the train to the observer you're frozen still.

Relativity has wierd effects, but none of them (AFAIK) produce a measurable "greater than c" velocity for an object.

0
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: "expansion of space briefly exceeded the speed of light "

"Yes seem. No object is moving at more than light speed, which is a good thing as that is impossible."

No - ARE. Light cannot move IN SPACE fast than light speed. But Space CAN move (expand) faster than light speed as it has no mass. QED - very distant objects can and are actually be moving apart faster than the speed of light relative to each other as space expands, even if it impossible to directly observe it.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: "expansion of space briefly exceeded the speed of light "

> But if the train was moving at c (the speed of light) relative to an observer, it would seem to the observer that you're both moving at c; even though to you you're moving forwards along the train to the observer you're frozen still.

Relativity has wierd effects, but none of them (AFAIK) produce a measurable "greater than c" velocity for an object.

You're taking issue with a simple example where a changing reference frame lead to odd conclusions. If you can suggest a better everyday analogy in which changes in the dimensions of space produce easily observable effects, I'm all ears -- I admit I struggled. I toyed with a rewrite of the 'rabbit and the tortoise' paradox, which is based on manipulating time, but it didn't make things clearer.

The expansion of space itself is both why we can see objects further away than the age of the universe, and why the light from them is redshifted (the wavelength of the light has been increased by the expansion of space itself). If you could backtrack the light, you'd find that even though it has covered 30 billion light years in 14 billion years, it has never moved faster than c. Neither the object nor the light is moving at greater than c, it's the reference frame, space itself, which has changed.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: "expansion of space briefly exceeded the speed of light "

> Space CAN move (expand) faster than light speed as it has no mass

Space does not move. Space is the dimensions of the universe: length, breadth, height, time (plus the little squiggly ones). They're the axles on the graph in which objects in spacetime are plotted. They can change, but to say that e.g. "length" moves is nonsensical.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: "expansion of space briefly exceeded the speed of light "

"Space does not move. Space is the dimensions of the universe: length, breadth, height, time (plus the little squiggly ones). "

Space does effectively move - we know that the universe is expanding - and that we can see light from distances further away than we should be able to if space was not moving.

We also know that the Big Bang for instance exceeded the speed of light during it's initial expansion - that is only possible if space also moved.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: "expansion of space briefly exceeded the speed of light "

"Relativity has wierd effects, but none of them (AFAIK) produce a measurable "greater than c" velocity for an object."

The key word is measurable. For instance if you launched two objects in opposite directions at light speed, clearly they are travelling apart at twice the speed of light relative to each other. There is just no way of observing that from one object to the other...

0
1
Silver badge

Re: "expansion of space briefly exceeded the speed of light "

" For instance if you launched two objects in opposite directions at light speed"

SR allows a 3rd observer to 'see' 2 objects moving together or apart at >c but from the perspective of one object the other can never be moving (towards or away at >c). It's one of the problems with trying to understand relativity by analogy with everyday experience.

In the LHC the protons beams each reach close to c relative to the machine but from their perspective only collide at <c

0
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: "expansion of space briefly exceeded the speed of light "

As it already says above "There is just no way of observing that from one object to the other..."

0
0
Silver badge

Re: "expansion of space briefly exceeded the speed of light "

"As it already says above "There is just no way of observing that from one object to the other...""

There is if the objects are closing

0
0
Silver badge

Re: "expansion of space briefly exceeded the speed of light "

"As it already says above "There is just no way of observing that from one object to the other...""

The two objects don't move apart at >c that's the whole point. 2 objects traveling at say 0.99c each mutually away from an observer at a point will still only see each other separating at <c.

The observer will see them traveling away from the starting point at -0.99c & 0.99c That's the kind of thing that makes relativity seem so counter-intuitive

If nothing with mass can reach c in any ref. frame then the observer can only see each object as moving with velocity less than c and the same applies to the objects whether they are moving away or towards each other.

0
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Silver badge

Re: "expansion of space briefly exceeded the speed of light "

> Space does effectively move - we know that the universe is expanding - and that we can see light from distances further away than we should be able to if space was not moving.

No, that's confusing the apparent effects on objects in spacetime with spacetime itself. Spacetime isn't an object, it's the set of coordinates, axles in a graph, we use to describe the position of objects in the universe.

0
0
FAIL

Correction, Mr. T

Inflation doesn't explain why we have detected temperature differences. It explains why the temperature of the universe is uniform (that's "no differences") in all directions.

1
2
Silver badge

Re: Correction, Mr. T

AFAIK inflation theory explains the temperature differences as being caused by quantum fluctuations in the temperature of the very early universe, being inflated to multi-galaxy-cluster size when the universe inflated.

1
0
Bronze badge

Re: Correction, Mr. T - @Vociferous

No, much, much smaller than a galaxy cluster. From nearly bugger all (proton size) to about the size of a decent grapefruit. Note that the BB had already expanded to proton size before inflation kicked in; the expansion from nowt to proton took nearly three times as long as inflation lasted.

The CMB shows that there are warmer and colder regions (still all bloody close to 0K) mixed together but this temperature motteling is uniform in all directions. Inflation smoothed it out to be so. Average CMB temperature is equivalent to 2.7K IIRC.

0
0
JDX
Gold badge

" throws enormous weight behind the famous theory of the Big Bang."

AFAIK it specifically supports the theory that the universe began by expanding at an increasing - even exponential - rate before settling into the standard model of decelerating due to gravity?

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: " throws enormous weight behind the famous theory of the Big Bang."

AFAIK, last time we checked, it's accelerating. Though I'm happy to be corrected. Gravity is being overcome by something. Which is still a puzzle.

2
0

Re: " throws enormous weight behind the famous theory of the Big Bang."

It's accelerating now, but it was decelerating due to gravity for the first half or so of the universe's lifetime, I believe.

1
0
Linux

They knew they had the real deal when they decoded the waves and read the message: "So long, and thanks for all the fish."

Tux, 'cause penguins like fish too.

4
0
Silver badge
Happy

Nah, it read: "We apologise for the inconvenience"

2
0
Trollface

This research is wrong!

I don't know anything about science, but this research goes against my core believes and therefore it is wrong!

You'll just have to keep doing it over again until you get it right (ie: Your results say what I want them to say).

Regards,

Way too many people who think their opinion is as valid as your facts.

6
0
Bronze badge

Re: This research is wrong!

Interestingly, it's only other scientists and couch based scientists that disagree. Most people are happy with the conclusion the observations demand.

Not saying this observation demands any particular conclusion mind. As it's still a single data point of sorts.

0
0

OK - now we know that FTL spacetime expansion is real, it's time to roll our sleeves up and build that space drive!

Pass the hacksaw, Mabel...and careful with that axe, Eugene.

1
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Silver badge

> now we know that FTL spacetime expansion is real, it's time to roll our sleeves up and build that space drive!

There have been proposed FTL travel methods which are based on manipulating spacetime.

(Needless to say, it's easier said than done)

0
0
Anonymous Coward

We already know it's pretty easy. All you need is an object with zero mass or infinite energy...

1
1
JDX
Gold badge

Lots of common particles have zero mass. They don't travel FTL.

2
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.