Scientists have announced on February 11 that we have finally recorded an elusive phenomenon Albert Einstein first predicted 100 years ago.
Called gravitational waves, the ripples in the fabric of space are caused by colliding black holes, merging neutron stars, exploding stars, and other cataclysmic events.
Two astronomers discovered the first evidence of gravitational waves back in 1974.
But scientists ever since then have struggled to directly sample their telltale warping of space. Einstein deemed the problem so hard that he did not believe we'd ever find them.
"It would revolutionize physics to detect them," Szabi Marka, a physicist at Columbia University, told Tech Insider. "Some say it's the last undiscovered territory of Einstein."
Aside from proving fundamental physics, direct detection of gravitational waves has opened up a new era of astronomy. Researchers could detect exploding stars before any of their light reaches Earth, probe the secrets of black holes, and understand what happens when — and how often — dead stars violently collide.
"We could learn about something that was impossible to touch before," Marka said.
The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), is a $1 billion experiment that has searched for signs of the phenomenon since 2002. The announcement today confirmed that LIGO has detected gravitational waves coming from two black holes colliding deep in space 1.3 billion years ago.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) live feed with scientists from LIGO is ongoing. Watch here:
Note that the NSF and LIGO webcast is probably going to be a bit technical, but Tech Insider will have a lot of nerds watching to bring you the latest news in comprehensible form.