Feb. 17, 2016, 1:59 p.m.View more articles
Physicists have confirmed the existence of gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of spacetime that travel at the speed of light. Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity predicted the existence of these waves 100 years ago, but this is the first time that they have been detected directly.
Scientists collected the data by carefully measuring the collision of two black holes, using an instrument so sensitive that it can detect movements of less than a fraction of a millimeter from four light years away!
The observation has been called one of the most important developments in modern science. Stephen Hawking told the BBC, 'Gravitational waves provide a completely new way of looking at the Universe. The ability to detect them has the potential to revolutionise astronomy'.
With data from gravitational waves scientists believe that it is now possible to look deeper into the history of the universe, and perhaps to even gather data from the Big Bang itself.
Watch Black Holes to learn more about the mysterious phenomena that allowed scientists to collect this data.