In the summer of 1774, the United Kingdom's Astronomer Royal, Nevil Maskelyne, stood on the side of a Scottish mountain contemplating something far more profound than the view. He was trying to work out exactly how much the Earth weighed.
Gravity (from Latin gravitas 'weight'), or gravitation, is a natural phenomenon by which all things with mass or energy—including planets, stars, galaxies, and even light—are attracted to (or gravitate toward) one another.
The veteran gravitational wave hunter from Glasgow University has come to the National Press Club in Washington DC to witness the announcement of the first direct detection of ripples in the fabric of space-time caused by the merger of two "intermediate-sized" black holes.
Imagine the energy of eight Suns released in an instant. This is the gravitational "shockwave" that spread out from the biggest merger yet observed between two black holes.
A pioneering technique using subatomic particles known as neutrons could give microscopic hints of extra dimensions or even dark matter, researchers say.The idea rests on probing any minuscule variations in gravity as it acts on slow-moving neutrons in a tiny cavity.