For the First Time, Astronomers Detect Gravitational Waves coming from Binary White Dwarf System

Gravitational waves represent a phenomenon so insanely weird that it’s almost impossible to believe. Most humans generally perceive space and time more like idealistically rather than thinking about them as of something pure scientific. The truth is that time and space (aka spacetime) are basic components of our reality and they can be warped and manipulated if we have the right tools.

Gravitational waves are literally quakes of the fabric of spacetime itself. Cosmic objects can bend spacetime, as Einstein proved with its general relativity theory. Therefore, gravitational waves can only be caused by tremendously powerful cosmic events.

Two white dwarfs are causing gravitational waves

Astronomers were stunned enough when they saw gravitational waves caused by two black holes merging. But what researchers at the Harvard and Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, along with colleagues at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Montreal, discovered, is even more astonishing. For the first time ever, humanity detects two white dwarf stars that are causing gravitational waves.

The white dwarf system is called J2322+0509, a pair that exhibits an orbital period of only about 20 minutes.

Warren F. Brown, who is the lead author on the study, declared:

It’s a fun fact, some of the most difficult-to-detect binaries may actually be the strongest gravitational wave sources. There might be some among the brightest, nearby stars, we just haven’t detected them,

The Theory of General Relativity confirmed once more

Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity predicted the existence of gravitational waves, although there wasn’t any direct evidence for such a cosmic event back then. Only recently scientists were able to confirm the existence of such cataclysmic phenomenon. Einstein brought the theory to the world almost a century ago, which makes it an even more crucial legacy for science.

The discovery of the gravitational waves caused by the two white dwarfs was published on April 6 in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

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