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Author Topic:   NanoGrav Collaboration
Posts: 6084
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 4.6

Message 1 of 1 (884479)
02-21-2021 2:51 PM

I've been watching this story for more than a decade waiting on results and review.

Little do most know that for all these years astrophysicists have been building a new telescope ... the size of the galaxy.

By analyzing a few dozen fast pulsars, their signals and their timing, these clever people can see gravitational waves. Gravitational waves fiddle ever so slightly with the super-precise timing of these most accurate of cosmic clocks.

The intention was to see the longer-frequency gravitational waves that LIGO/VIRGO and even the proposed LISA could never detect.

What we got, however, is much more. We have seen, and are analyzing ever deeper, the gravitational-wave background, that constant background buzz of gravitational waves that permeates all the cosmos.

Stand on a busy street corner in a crowded city at rush hour and just listen. All the sounds of the city in one constant buzzing symphony. We can now hear that buzz from the very fabric of space-time.

This is a long term complex process that takes our best number crunchers to scrub the noise from the data but what results is and will be staggering for our understanding of the cosmos.

Ok, so it's not going to get vaccines any sooner or solve all our problems - it is after all just knowledge of the universe and will pierce ever closer to that elusive moment when whatever happened actually happened and created the universe. So no big deal.

Except in the grander scheme of things.

The reason LIGO was such a stir when it came online is because of the deep-physics insights it was to (and has) shown us. This NanoGrav detector is orders of magnitude beyond even that most sensitive of gravitational-wave hair triggers.

The gravitational-wave background. We can see it, in detail, with extreme precision. And now we can science the hell out of it.

LIGO - Wikipedia
Pulsar - Wikipedia
Virgo interferometer - Wikipedia
Laser Interferometer Space Antenna - Wikipedia
North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves

Edited by AZPaul3, : No reason given.

Eschew obfuscation. Habituate elucidation.

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