UTRGV Astronomers Part of Discovery Proving Einstein’s Theory of Relativity

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Several astronomers, among them from The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, made a galactic announcement of a groundbreaking discovery that serves as evidence of Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. 

“It’s deeply important for scientists, because it tells us that we understand how the universe works,” said Juan Sanchez, Interim Senior Vice President for Research, Innovation and Economic Development at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley,

For the first time, scientists have directly detected gravitational waves,   or ripples in space and time, in addition to light from the spectacular collision of two neutron stars. 

This marks the first time that a cosmic event has been viewed in both gravitational waves and light.

“That sort of opens new doors to do astronomy,” Sanchez said. 

UTRGV students also had a role in the revolutionary discovery that confirms Einstein’s one-hundred-year-old theory.  

 “It’s another observable fact that we’ve been able to detect of the gravitational waves and the speed at which they travel,” said Moises Castillo, researcher for Center for Gravitational Wave Astronomy. 

Those involved in the mission, said the cosmic discovery is relevant, even if you don’t have a background in astronomy or physics.

 “It’s important for our understanding of our natural universe,” Castillo said. “We ask a question like where do things come from? Where do things originate from? Wow are things created? How are things destroyed? How do they interact with each other?” 

The gravitational signal was first detected on August 17, 130 million light-years from Earth and was made possible by an international collaboration of more than 50 scientists and 60 telescopes.
 

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