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Tracking back to the Big Bang PDF Print E-mail
Written by Daniel Marin   
Friday, 04 July 2008

Today many observations of the cosmos are performed outside the visible light domain. As the field of astroparticle physics grows, it is opening up new windows to our understanding of the Universe. For the first time, light is not the only messenger from distant cosmic objects, as we begin to observe very high energy cosmic rays and high-energy photons. We also hope to observe high-energy neutrinos and gravitational waves, which probe even earlier times than light in the evolution of the Universe.
The gravitational waves - ripples of the space-time fabric predicted by Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity - track violent events in the Universe. In particular, they track the most violent event that occurred in the Universe: the very first instants of the Big Bang.

VIRGO/LISA/ASPERA
© VIRGO/LISA/ASPERA

Gravitational waves (GW) are a direct consequence of general relativity and should distort space-time as waves on the surface of a pond. They are produced when large masses are submitted to strong accelerations and could be detected by very small changes in the distance between free masses in GW detectors around the world like GEO600 in Germany or VIRGO in Italy. The space project LISA will widely increase the sensitivity of GW detection in the next decade.



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