In a recent scientific breakthrough, a fourth gravitational wave has been detected. It was spotted via an Italy-based equipment, Virgo detector, following a collision of two black holes, in which ripples were sent through the fabric of space and time, said researchers.
The latest space-time ripples were noticed at 10:30 GMT on August 14. Two huge black holes, with masses around 25 and 31 times more than that of Sun, were merged near about 1.8 billion light-years away, reported The Hindu.
"The newly produced spinning black hole has about 53 times the mass of our Sun," read a statement from the international scientists at Virgo detector, located at the European Gravitational Observatory (EGO) in Cascina, Italy. "While this new event is of astrophysical relevance, its detection comes with an additional asset: this is the first significant gravitational wave signal recorded by the Virgo detector," it further said, according to the report.
Reportedly, the Virgo detector, an L-shaped underground instrument that's capable of tracking gravitational waves using the physics of laser light and space, recently received an upgrade. Although it's still less sensitive than its U.S. counterparts, the machine perfectly confirmed the same signal.
"It is wonderful to see a first gravitational-wave signal in our brand new Advanced Virgo detector only two weeks after it officially started taking data," said a Virgo spokesperson Jo van den Brand of Nikhef and Vrije Universiteit (VU) University Amsterdam.
Previously, only two US-based detectors, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, were able to detect gravitational waves.
The Virgo collaboration consists of over 280 physicists and engineers from 20 different European research groups. "This is just the beginning of observations with the network-enabled by Virgo and LIGO working together," said David Shoemaker, MIT's spokesman for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration.
Legendary theoretical physicist Albert Einstein had first predicted gravitational waves a century ago as a part of his theory of general relativity. However, the first ever hard evidence of their existence arrived only in 2015, when two aforementioned U.S. detectors found the first such signal. It was only made public in 2016.