Scientists Discover Gravitational Waves


For the first time, scientists have discovered gravitational waves in space. They were created when two black holes collided at half the speed of light and joined to form a single black hole about 1.3 billion years ago.  The discovery was made by two observatories using laser instruments, in Louisiana and Washington.

A hundred years ago, German physicist Albert Einstein suggested that gravitational waves existed, however, up to now, nobody could prove it. He thought that they were so small nobody would ever be able to measure them. For decades scientists have been searching for them. The major discovery confirms Einstein's general theory of relativity and opens up a new way of how we look at the universe.

The black holes were about 100 miles in diameter , but had 30 times the mass of the sun. When they crashed into each other they sent ripples into space, similar to throwing a stone into the water. These ripples go through everything that is in their way. However, such vibrations can only be detected by very sensitive instruments. Two identical detectors went into operation last year. Each of them recorded a signal at the same time.


Gravitational waves allow us to study black holes and other objects in the universe. Now, scientists hope that they can see things that they have never seen before.


Gravitational waves

How gravitational waves spread


Related Topics



  • allow = let
  • billion = a thousand million
  • black hole = a region in space where gravity is so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape
  • collide = crash into each other
  • confirm = to prove that something is true
  • decade = ten years
  • detect = to see something that is hidden or very difficult to see
  • diameter = from one side to the other
  • discover = to find something for the first time
  • general theory of relativity = Einstein’s theory of the universe is based on the fact that all movement is relative and that time is a fourth dimension related to space
  • however = but
  • identical = the same
  • join = come together
  • major = very important
  • mass = weight
  • measure = to find out how big something is
  • observatory =building where scientists can watch the planets and the stars
  • physicist = person who has studied physics
  • prove = to show that something is true
  • record = to keep information and save it for later
  • ripple = small wave
  • scientist = a person who is trained in science and works in a lab
  • sensitive = being able to record very small changes
  • similar = like
  • single = only one
  • space = the area outside the Earth's atmosphere, where the planets and the stars are
  • speed of light = how far light can travel in one year = 300 000 km per second
  • suggest = here: to have an idea or thought
  • vibration = fast, shaking movement