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|Swinburne Astronomy Productions|
|A still image from a computer simulation of an oscillon, a strong localized fluctuation of the inflaton field of the early universe. According to the calculations of Prof. Stefan Antusch and his team, oscillons produced a characteristic peak in the otherwise broad spectrum of gravitational waves. Credit: University of Basel, Department of Physics|
Although Albert Einstein had already predicted the existence of gravitational waves, their existence was not actually proven until fall 2015, when highly sensitive detectors received the waves formed during the merging of two black holes. Gravitational waves are different from all other known waves. As they travel through the universe, they shrink and stretch the space-time continuum; in other words, they distort the geometry of space itself. Although all accelerating masses emit gravitational waves, these can only be measured when the mass is extremely large, as is the case with black holes or supernovas.
Gravitational waves transport information from the Big Bang~
A highly compressed universe~
Oscillons generate a powerful signal~
“Although the oscillons have long since ceased to exist, the gravitational waves they emitted are omnipresent — and we can use them to look further into the past than ever before,” says Antusch.