September 23, 2023
Story Lab with Twitter's Mark Luckie

Scientists Discover a Constant Symphony of Gravitational Waves Shaping the Universe

Eight years after the groundbreaking detection of gravitational waves, a feat honored with the Nobel Prize for Physics, scientists have made a new revelation: the presence of a multitude of gravitational waves that continuously deform and reshape spacetime, influencing the motion and behavior of celestial bodies.

The analogy drawn by Yashwant Gupta, director of the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) in Pune, helps us understand this phenomenon. Just as raindrops create waves on a lake’s surface, each gravitational wave interacts with others, collectively forming a disturbance in spacetime. Similar to how a floating object on a lake experiences the combined effect of all these waves, heavenly bodies, including Earth, move under the influence of the vast array of gravitational waves present in the universe.

Referred to as the ‘gravitational wave background,’ the evidence for this discovery was obtained using a different technology from the one employed in the first detection of gravitational waves in 2015. By measuring minuscule delays in signals from distant rapidly rotating stars called pulsars, six large radio telescopes worldwide, including the Giant Meterwave Radio Telescope in Pune, operated by NCRA, identified deformities in spacetime caused by gravitational waves.

This revelation opens up a new understanding of the universe, where gravitational waves are an ever-present symphony, constantly shaping and molding the fabric of spacetime. With this knowledge, scientists can delve deeper into the mysteries of the cosmos, exploring the profound impact of these gravitational waves on the behavior and evolution of celestial objects.

The discovery of a gravitational wave background unveils a continuous interplay of cosmic forces that influence the dynamics of our universe. This remarkable finding not only builds upon the earlier Nobel Prize-winning detection of gravitational waves but also paves the way for further groundbreaking research in astrophysics and our understanding of the fundamental nature of the cosmos.

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