EDITORIAL

Throwing deep

Science  18 Mar 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6279, pp. 1243
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf6622

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Summary

In a galaxy far, far away (a billion light years away, to be more precise), two massive black holes merged. Spacetime twisted, contorted, and rearranged itself in dramatic fashion, and ripples within its very fabric shot out across the cosmos. Occurrences like this happen hourly somewhere in the universe. What is notable is that on Earth, we detected these ripples, an event now known as GW150914. In the fraction of a second that we “heard” black holes shake up spacetime, a new window on the universe was opened where we hope to hear more black holes, cosmic phase transitions, and even the birth of the universe. The last big prediction of general relativity—the existence of gravitational waves—has been directly confirmed, and we now have a new way of advancing our understanding of gravity, the force that shapes our universe.