Listen To The Sound Of Gravitational Waves

The 'chirp' would make a great ringtone

Oh hey, I heard ripples in space and time, generated as two black holes merged. Call me back. SXS, CC BY-ND

“Chirp!” That’s the sound of the long-sought gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of spacetime, according to an announcement today from scientists working on the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) experiment.

Originally theorized by Albert Einstein in 1916, gravitational waves have long been seen as a bedrock of modern physics and astronomy, but it wasn’t until today’s blockbuster announcement that we had proof they really existed. Now scientists have confirmed that the twin LIGO stations in Louisiana and Washington State had detected the signal of two black holes merging 1.3 billion light years away from Earth last September, and that this signal came in the form of an audible “chirp.”

Now you can hear the same mind-blowing cosmic sound for yourself thanks to Emily Lakdawalla of the Planetary Society, who was on hand to catch a recording of the “chirp” played at the LIGO announcement press conference in Washington, D.C. You first hear the voice of Louisiana State physics and astronomy professor Gabriela Gonzales, a LIGO spokesperson, introducing the chirp.

As some have indicated on Twitter, it could even be your next ringtone.

Read more about the discovery here.