WHATS IN THIS BLOG:
• Gravity waves……what are they?
• Upcoming talk on Fracking and Earthquakes (by the Gray Nomad)
GRAVITY WAVES……WHAT ARE THEY?
After searching for 30 years, scientists have found and measured gravity waves. This was announced yesterday. Gravity is the pull between the sun and the earth, or the pull between a human and the earth. Einstein one-hundred years ago (1916) published the General Theory of Relativity. In it he predicted gravity waves that would spread across the universe like ripples from a stone dropped into a pond. Except they travel at the speed of light.
But to create a gravity wave, you need to suddenly shift a very heavy object, such as a black hole. A black hole may be 30 times the mass of the sun, or almost ten million times the mass of the earth, but only 20 miles in diameter, which is mind-blowing. In a black hole, matter is so dense and the gravity force so strong that nothing can escape. Not even light, which is why you cannot see it, and why it’s called a black hole.
So how do you suddenly shift a black hole? You have it collide with another black hole. And scientists predicted decades ago this would be enough to create gravity waves.
But how do you measure gravity waves? Very difficult. Scientists built two tunnels in an L-shape. Each arm was 2.5 miles long. If a gravity wave passes through this detector, the force of gravity would be stronger in one tunnel and compress its length. And weaker in the second tunnel and expand its length. But the change in length would only be the diameter of a proton or less, which is unbelievably small.
Despite this difficulty, they were able to use lasers and mirrors to measure the length of each tunnel to fantastic accuracy. Initially, the measurements were so sensitive the detector saw movement due to cars entering the site, and due to earthquakes. The scientists eventually did a costly upgrade in 2014 which removed these local sources.
They started looking again for the real thing in the Fall of 2015. Believe it or not, they saw a signal soon after, in September 2015, and it was the real thing. Two black holes collided and the waves were created at the last moment of the collision. Then the waves rippled across a distance of 1.3 billion light years to reach earth (the nearest galaxy to earth’s galaxy is at a distance of 0.16 million light-years).
Note: you have to have an L-shaped detector at two different locations to ensure the signal is not a local effect. Two separate detectors were built in Washington State and in Louisiana.
• The gravity wave signal matches well with the original Einstein theory, and so verifies this theory.
• The discovery is direct proof that black holes exist. And the first observation of binary black holes which merged 1.3 billion years ago (it took this long for the gravity waves to reach earth).
• As one scientist said, “The universe has spoken to us via gravitational waves. Up until now we’ve been deaf.”
• Scientists can look for evidence of gravity waves created during the big-bang theory for the origin of the universe. That was about 15 billion years ago.
• Some scientists say it’s the greatest discovery in their lifetime. The discovery will assuredly mean a Nobel Prize.
• What with the discovery of the Higgs boson last year (click here to read my blog about this), perhaps the scientists are close to discovering God. Then the Christians will smile and say, “But we’ve known him for a long time.”
UPCOMING TALK ON FRACKING AND EARTHQUAKES:
This is a preliminary announcement. I’m giving a talk in Independence, Kansas, on Wednesday 2 March at 6 pm. This topic is of great interest, because most people want to know about fracking as used in shale-gas and shale-oil wells (is it good or is it bad). And also because earthquakes, which may have some connection to fracking, have increased rapidly in Oklahoma and Texas since 2013. RSVP is necessary by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org Space is limited. (If the link doesn’t work, type my email address into your emailing site).
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The Gray Nomad
Probing the practice of Christian believers……
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims His handiwork. Day after day pours forth speech, and night after night shows forth knowledge. There is no speech nor spoken word [from the stars]; their voice is not heard; yet their voice [in evidence] goes out through all the earth, their sayings to the end of the world. [Book of Psalms, chapter 19].