The gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space-time created by supermassive bodies some colliding each other and some not with like black holes, pulsars, and neutron stars. Albert Einstein first predicted the existence of these gravitational waves with his general relativity theory but it was until September 14th, 2015, Einstein’s prediction was proved. It proved by using the instrument called Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational Waves Observatory (LIGO), where they captured these puny waves coming from two black holes accelerating towards each other, one with mass of 36 suns and other with the mass of 29 suns, falling and colliding into each other creating a black hole of 21 time the mass of our sun and the rest of the energy was released in the form of gravitational waves, this took place over 1.4 billion years ago. The scientist behind this discovery even won the Nobel prize for its detection in 2017. Gravitational Waves travels at the speed of light, “stretching and squeezing space-time along the way” ( https://www.space.
com/38471-gravitational-waves-neutron-star-crashes-discovery-explained.html ). The discovery of the gravitational waves has created a new window in the universe and our understanding of it.
The LIGO was proposed in the early 1980s by Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne, and Ronald Drever, their idea was then funded by the National Science Foundation. The hunt for gravitational waves started from the time when Einstein first predicted it. It is really a peculiar task these waves as they are really weak, up until LIGO detected one in September of 2015, nobody was successful in catching these waves. LIGO uses instruments sensitive enough to measure size difference of 1/10000 of a proton.Traditional astronomy from the past relied on electromagnetic waves for certain scientific experiments but electromagnetic waves are easily absorbed by other substances.
Gravitational waves are more reliant as their path is not interfered by other objects or gravitational fields and they can easily pass through. To detect gravitational waves, LIGO will receive gravitational waves that will help it detect the physical origin of the wave. LIGO creates a history of the data from the waves detected as real-time detection of the waves are usually impossible. LIGO is advantageous due to how it has recorded information and thus, can help answer questions about black holes, supernovas, neutron stars, gravity and space-time fabric, and Universe in general.
This is a relatively new discovery as scientist work on them to extract the message from the time when multi-cellular life was not even possible. They are important to us as they can tell us about the early universe, how matter formed, how black holes are created, how heavy metals in the universe are created, and many more.