3-D visualization of gravitational waves.
Scientists have been trying ~ but failing ~ for years to detect theoretical ripples in space-time called gravitational waves. New research suggests that building just one more detector might finally bring success.
Gravitational waves are predicted by Einstein's theory of general relativity as a result of some of the most violent events in the universe, such as the collision of two neutron stars. When two neutron stars merge into each other, they are predicted to release strong gravitational waves that should be detectable on Earth.
Four gravitational wave detectors are currently in operation. Proposals have been submitted to build additional ones each in Japan, Australia and India. Constructing just one of these would double the amount of sky being covered in current searches for gravitational waves and would drastically increase the chances of a detection.
A study last year estimated that by 2016 the four existing gravitational wave detectors would be able to detect, on average, 40 neutron-star merger events per year. This could be increased to 160 events per year with improved data analysis techniques, that research found.
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