After a hiatus that went longer than I expected it to, I’m finally back and ready to start blogging again. If you visit the site, you’ll notice the header image has been changed to be more sciencey. I’m going to start focusing more on blogging about science and science-related stuff, because that’s what I plan to do for a career. In the meantime, you can read this post I wrote over at Teen Skepchick about gravitational wave astronomy:
To detect a gravitational wave, we measure its effect on other objects. The gravitational wave bends spacetime: it stretches it in one direction and compresses it in another. By measuring the rate of stretching and compressing, scientists can determine all sorts of things about the source of the waves. The problem is that the change is minuscule; the total amount of stretching and compressing amounts to less than a billionth of a centimeter in length, or thousands of times smaller than the size of an atom.
Enter LIGO: The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, two gigantic detectors built in Livingston, Louisiana and the Hanford site, just outside of Richland, Washington. Each is kilometers long, and designed specifically to observe the tiny changes required to gather gravitational wave data. To do this, they employ a 120-year-old technique, interferometry, in the largest way the world has ever seen.