Astronomers routinely explore the universe using different wavelength ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum, from the well-known visible light to radio waves and infrared to gamma rays. There is a problem in studying the universe through the electromagnetic spectrum, because we can only see light from an era when the universe was only 380 thousand years old.
the The universe today He states that an alternative approach is to use gravitational waves, which are thought to have existed in the early universe and may allow us to reach even further.
The concept of gravitational waves is very simple. Imagine the fabric of outer space as a vast sea. The movement of any body in this sea causes waves that penetrate the water. Fog limits visibility, but the waves do not obstruct it and can pass through it. Gravitational waves are like waves in space caused by the movement of objects. This was actually predicted by Einstein in 1916 in his theory of general relativity.
Can we also see the birth of the universe?
However, gravitational waves do not only exist theoretically, they have actually been discovered. On September 15, 2015, LIGO-Virgo detected gravitational waves generated by the merger of two black holes with masses of 29 and 36 solar masses, 1.3 billion light-years away. Since then, there have been over 100 detections, so gravitational waves certainly exist.
Rishav Roshan and Graham White, researchers at the University of Southampton, believe that gravitational waves could be used to explore the early moments of the universe. In the first moments of its formation, space was opaque because the universe was filled with ionized gas and electromagnetic radiation could not penetrate it. Roshan and White believe they can break this barrier.
In their paper, they identify three main strategies for detecting gravitational waves. Pulsar timing, astrometry and interferometry. The technologies are similar and all rely on these waves that disrupt the space between the elements of the system. In the case of the interferometer, the disruption of the space between the system's optics reveals gravitational waves. In the case of pulsar clusters, changes in the timing of pulsations from known pulsar systems reveal their presence, and in astrometry, small changes in the angular velocity of the target object reveal the presence of waves.
Since their discovery, gravitational waves have provided invaluable information about what is happening in the far reaches of the universe. Now it seems that with the help of waves, some mysteries can be revealed not only in space, but also in time. Gravitational waves may hold the key to going beyond the Standard Model — developed in the 1970s, which defines matter by taking into account the four fundamental forces – strong and weak interactions, the electromagnetic force, and the behavior of the gravitational force — to get a more complete picture of the universe.