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Major Astrophysics Breakthrough: Using Pulsars to Map Gravity Waves

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Unlike the sudden burst of gravitational waves reported in 2016, these ultra-low-frequency gravitational waves take years or even decades to oscillate.


They are expected to be produced by pairs of supermassive black holes, orbiting at the cores of distant galaxies throughout the universe. To find these gravitational waves, scientists would need to construct a detector the size of a galaxy.


Or we can use pulsars, which are already spread across the galaxy, and whose pulses arrive at our telescopes with the regularity of precise clocks.





When black holes and other enormously massive, dense objects whirl around one another, they send out ripples in space...




About 100 years ago, Einstein theorized about the existence of gravitational waves. A few years back physicists detected gravitational waves for the first time ever with a huge underground laser called LIGO, but that detector can only detect very high frequency waves which are rare. To detect normal waves, a massive detector is needed. 


Similar to how scientists used telescopes from around the world to create an earth sized array capable of imaging black holes, they have used similar methods here by using pulsars to create a giant gravitational wave detector. 


Now it will be possible to map the universe in a whole new way, using gravitational waves. This is a huge breakthrough for astrophysics. 

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