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Title: Ripples in reality

In a deep and dark corner of space, a cataclysm loomed. Two cosmic nemeses circled one another, locked in a macabre dance of death. Unfolding over millennia, the deadly waltz began leisurely enough. But with the dance came radiation and the energy loss that it implies. Orbit after orbit, the distance between the two protagonists shrank as their grip on each other tightened. Radiation carried away energy, but not angular momentum, so the orbital velocity grew to incomprehensible levels—well into the realm where Einstein's theory of special relativity reigns supreme. With the closing distances, the inevitable occurred as the two twisted knots of spacetime approached each other and merged in a spasm that shook the universe so violently that the energy output briefly outshone the electromagnetic energy output of the entire universe. The two adversaries become one, finally merged together for all eternity. The traces of their ordeal died away, leaving only a fading death scream that spread throughout the cosmos, growing ever fainter. That is, until they passed through Earth. Furthermore, that was the moment that changed everything.
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. Fermi National Accelerator Lab. (FNAL), Batavia, IL (United States)
  2. LIGO Livingston Observatory, Livingston, LA (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0031-921X; PHTEAH; 1494519
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physics Teacher
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 54; Journal Issue: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 0031-921X
American Association of Physics Teachers
Research Org:
Fermi National Accelerator Lab. (FNAL), Batavia, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), High Energy Physics (HEP) (SC-25)
Country of Publication:
United States
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; gravitational waves; black holes; LIGO; gravitational wave detectors; interferometers
OSTI Identifier: