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Announcement tomorrow on gravitational waves


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The concern, and it sounds like they share it, is that the result was too convenient. (Sort of like Sol being almost exactly on the vertical midpoint of the galactic disk.)

 

Doesn't mean it's a false positive (Sol really does seem to be almost exactly on that midpoint), but it does raise questions. The process of real science is all about trying to disprove existing theory.

 

FWIW, I hope they detected what they think they detected.

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I hope so too. What I'm wondering in my not-a-science-major way is if these signals are not all that uncommon -- just really, really realllllly difficult to detect. In that case, once we had a detector sensitive enough, oh, there they are.

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They killed the webcast, but Eric Berger has continued reporting in the Ars livestream. He suspects, based on body language, that there have been other events but they're not ready to talk about them yet. They did cop to one: "There is another event that was statistically not as significant, but is probably more likely than not one of these black holes in spiral."

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I hope so too. What I'm wondering in my not-a-science-major way is if these signals are not all that uncommon -- just really, really realllllly difficult to detect. In that case, once we had a detector sensitive enough, oh, there they are.

The most recent Backreaction talks a little about gravitational waves but in the comments there's a tiny bit of bickering about over expected frequency and what it would have meant if there had not been a detection.

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I'm related to a gravitational physicist. I can check with him (although he's kind of busy and chances are by the time he gets back there'll be more news online anyhow).

He got back, basically to say yep, this is the real deal. Very excited, and pleased in a small way because he had said this very thing (i.e. a supermassive black hole collision detected by LIGO would show gravity waves) was going to happen in a physics book he wrote a couple of years back.

Edited by Pingo
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