Recently, Light and gravitational waves were detected from the same cosmic event for the first time. Discuss the significance of this discovery.

Gravitational detectors LIGO (US) and Virgo (Europe), some 70 observatories and telescope around the world (and space) were able to measure gravitational waves generated by the collision of two neutron stars. 

  • Detection of gravitational waves and light originating from same source would allow independent testing of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.
  • The collision would provide clues on formation of heavy elements like gold and platinum in cosmos.
  • The discovery opens up a new era of astronomy, which would facilitate investigation of different types of waves to study the same events in the cosmos.
  • Help in the measurement of age of universe.
  • It is  important, because it provides the first corroboration of direct detection of gravitational waves by scientists outside the Ligo collaboration
  • Detection in three detectors provides more accurate information about the position of the event, which took place 2 billion years ago, on the sky.

In India discovery opens up the long-awaited era of multi-messenger astronomy. India is investing in this field, thus in future LIGO-India collaboration would provide ability to precisely constrain the sky-location of such events as well as the extreme matter physics of such neutron stars.

Question for UPSC Mains:
Recently, Light and gravitational waves were detected from the same cosmic event for the first time. Discuss the significance of this discovery. Swarajya

Published: October 17, 2017 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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