Thought Of The Day

somewhere in some unknown but yet in a definite epoch, an unimaginable event happened in an unimaginable distance away and we are just feeling the faint ripples of it. Probably ripple isn't even a right word for it.

Last month researchers said they had felt space-time vibrations from the merger of a pair of mammoth black holes merging together in the universe. These space-time vibrations are also called as gravitation waves. In this event, some 3 billion light-years away, so technically it happened 3 billion years ago, a black hole 19 times the mass of the sun and another black hole 31 times the sun’s mass, married to make a single hole of 49 solar masses. During the last moments of this epic merger, they were shedding more energy in the form of gravitational waves than all the stars in the observable universe. These waves of energy, traveled 3 billion light years (in kilometer that would be 3 followed by twenty-two zeros if you want to get some banal earthly perspective) to reach us now, and these waves have so much energy that after travelling so far away in time and distance that it was still able to jiggle LIGO’s mirrors back and forth by a fraction of an atomic diameter 20 times a second.

Something that happened so so long ago and so so far away and was so so massive that it is still causing a shock wave to boom across the cosmos. Everything about it breaks our notion of the 'reality' around us? If you think hard about it, one can not but stop and wonder how to make any sense of it. What does this tell us about us, about our seemingly busy lives, about this modest place we call home, about God, about the whole universe that is just a small speck in an all consuming cosmic darkness. Should we feel proud that we are out there intelligent enough to see and make sense of such colossal mayhem playing out or should we despair at thought of the randomness or chance of our existence or of being alone in this cold frigid corner of the cosmos. I mean if you can grapple with what above has happened, shouldn't it be as Carl Sagan said "a humbling and character-building experience."
“Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.   ---- Carl Sagan
The original article is here.

Here is a nice video of how LIGO works. (courtesy NY Times)