Just last month, the whole world celebrated as physicists proved the reality of gravitational waves, confirming Einstein’s theories for the umpteenth time. But if you were searching for a way to get in on the glory that comes with detecting a space-time ripple, well now’s your best chance. This week, researchers initiated recruiting regular folks like us to help make the next gravitational wave discovery. So how are we gonna go that? Simple, all you need to do is download a screensaver.
This new project, called Einstein@home, takes benefit of your computer’s free time to search through troves of data gathered by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) between September and January. Yep, it’s the same recent LIGO run accountable for the world’s first—and rather outstanding—gravitational wave signal, of a duo of massive black holes colliding 1.3 billion light years away.
At the moment, physicists aren’t expecting to spot another immense, dramatic wave in this set of data. But they’re very concerned about spotting weaker signals, like those formed when a pair of neutron stars spin about each other rapidly. The problem is that, these sort of signals more computational time to tease out, and so the best way to detect them is to sign up a bunch of computers with nothing better to do.
Now that LIGO has confirmed capable of detecting the space-time ripples that cause atoms to shake by a nearly tiny amount, physicists believe that these sort of discoveries will keep rolling in. This is a whole new glorious chapter in our study of the cosmos, one in which black holes and exploding stars actually sing to us. So now, It’s your turn to detect the next wave.