The detection of gravitational waves at twin observatories, one at Hanford near Richland, has been named the scientific breakthrough of the year by Science magazine, a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
The detection “confirmed one of Albert Einstein’s boldest predictions, that whirling masses can shape the very fabric of space-time, generating tiny ripples,” said Science in a video announcement.
The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatories at Hanford and in Louisiana detected tiny movements that were caused by two black holes that collided 1.3 billion years ago, creating gravitational waves that passed through Earth. The waves were detected in September 2015, with data analyzed for an announcement in February 2016.
The discovery confirms Einstein’s theory of relativity and opens up a new way for scientists to learn about the universe.