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Scientists Detect Gravitational Waves As Black Holes Collide 
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Captain
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Anyone wanna break this down into kitties and duckies for me as to why its amazing? Anyone?

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Tue Feb 16, 2016 1:36 pm
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Holy shit, where's Vern when you need him? This was so long ago (relatively speaking...hah!) that I forgot what happened!!

But I think I can do a quick at-a-glance on it. Here goes...

"Gravitational waves" are something that Einstein et al. predicted a long while back as yet another consequence of his theories on time and space. They're analogous to ripples in a pond - when a stone is thrown in, the water is disturbed and oscillates, radiating that energy from the thrown stone outward. You may have heard that analogy before to describe the behavior of sound, or maybe radio waves. The thing is...they all behave rather similarly. What's different about them is *what they're actually made of*.

More accurately, what's different is the medium through which the waves propagate.

Waves propagate through water (surface oscillations).
Sound propagates through air (pressure oscillations).
Light propagates through....well, I'm not really sure about that. I think that's where the analogy begins to break down, since light is both a wave and a particle. Kinda weird.
But gravity....gravity propagates through space-time.

You may be familiar with the analogy of a bowling ball on a trampoline to model gravity:




Like the other examples before, space-time not only warps, but oscillates. That oscillation carries gravitational energy, just like how water carries wave energy and air carries sound energy.

This is big because 1) they're really hard to detect, and 2) their discovery provides us with a new method for observing far-off places that might otherwise be obscured by clouds and such. Something that's invisible to our telescopes (be it radio, infrared, optical, x-ray, or gamma ray telescopes) will always be visible if it's massive enough.




tl;dr- we can see how fat things interact from far away even if they're behind a curtain

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Sat May 21, 2016 1:55 am
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Magellanic wrote:
tl;dr- we can see how fat things interact from far away even if they're behind a curtain

So wait, you need advanced physics knowledge to understand that it's possible to see the shadow of Homer Simpson eating pork rinds through a curtain?

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Mon May 23, 2016 7:20 am
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...???

Sorry champ, you lost me ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Thu Jun 23, 2016 10:46 pm
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Magellanic wrote:
...???

Sorry champ, you lost me ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

You said we can see how "fat" things interact behind a curtain, even if they're far away. I'm not sure if it was supposed to be "far things" but I made a joke about a fat guy eating (i.e. interacting) through a curtain.

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Fri Jun 24, 2016 7:22 am
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Moses Rockafeller wrote:
Magellanic wrote:
...???

Sorry champ, you lost me ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

You said we can see how "fat" things interact behind a curtain, even if they're far away. I'm not sure if it was supposed to be "far things" but I made a joke about a fat guy eating (i.e. interacting) through a curtain.

WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOPS!!!!!


Meant to say "we can see how things interact from far away even if they're behind a curtain"

Notice the lack of "fat". Sorry >_>

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Fri Jun 24, 2016 1:26 pm
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