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03 June, 2017

Scientists detect gravitational waves for third time in history

It is the third time that scientists have detected gravitational waves -- ripples in space and time -- demonstrating that "a new window in astronomy has been firmly opened."

The waves were picked up by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory(LIGO) on Jan. 4. They were generated when two black holes collided to form a larger black hole billions of light-years away from the earth, as was the case with the first two detections, according to a research published on Thursday.

"We have further confirmation of the existence of stellar-mass black holes that are larger than 20 solar masses -- these are objects we didn't know existed before LIGO detected them," says David Shoemaker, spokesperson for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. "It is remarkable that humans can put together a story, and test it, for such strange and extreme events that took place billions of years ago and billions of light-years distant from us," he says.

"It looks like Einstein was right -- even for this new event, which is about two times farther away than our first detection," says Laura Cadonati, the Deputy Spokesperson of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration.

Gravitation waves were predicted by Albert Einstein more than a century ago and were detected for the first time in September 2015.

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