In mid-August of this year, observatories in the United States and Italy detected gravitational waves washing over Earth—the very “forces that bend the fabric of the universe,” notes Marina Koren, and astronomers around the world quickly began mobilizing their space telescopes to seek out the source of these mysterious and significant physical events.

“A few hours later, they would find the source of the mysterious observations: a massive collision of neutron stars in a galaxy 130 million light-years from Earth,” thanks to a flurry of Slack messages from a few scientists who work for the University of California, Santa Cruz, says Koren.

Their discovery has produced “the first-ever image of a cosmic merger powerful enough to generate gravitational waves,” has engendered over 3,500 scientific reports, and definitively opened up a “new chapter in astronomy.”

Credit: The Atlantic


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