Researchers May Have Heard The ‘Humming Sound’ Of The Universe For The First Time Ever!
BY MASHABLE NEWS STAFF
Scientists at the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) have detected, what seems to be, the ‘resonant hum’ (also referred to as the ‘gravitational wave background’) of the universe for the first time. The findings of the sound detected have been published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
NANOGrav has published the details of these findings on its website where it states that its researchers studied the signals from distant pulsars used radio telescopes to collect data that may indicate the effects of gravitational waves. Researchers chose to study the signals from pulsars because they are “detectable, dependable galactic clocks”. Also, since pulsars are commonly known as ‘universe’s timekeepers’, their unique quality made them important for astronomical study.
“It is incredibly exciting to see such a strong signal emerge from the data,” said Joseph Simon, lead researcher on the paper. “However, because the gravitational-wave signal we are searching for spans the entire duration of our observations, we need to carefully understand our noise.
This leaves us in a very interesting place, where we can strongly rule out some known noise sources, but we cannot yet say whether the signal is indeed from gravitational waves. For that, we will need more data.” NANOGrav states that these latest findings have set up direct detection of gravitational waves as the possible next major step for NANOGrav and other members of the International Pulsar Timing Array (IPTA).
“NANOGrav has been building to the first detection of low-frequency gravitational waves for over a decade and today’s announcement shows that they are on track to achieving this goal,” said Pedro Marronetti, NSF Program Director for gravitational physics. He further added that the insights that are to be uncovered on cosmology and galaxy formation are “truly unparalleled.”
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