Scientists detect 'resonant hum’ permeating the universe from gravitational wave data

Study authors suspect the low-frequency signal might be coming from gravitational waves, which serves an indicator of cosmic activity.


Scientists may have, for the first time, heard the gravitational wave background or resonant 'hum' that permeates the Universe for the very first time. North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) detected the sound. The findings from the observations were published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. In the research, scientists analysed data over a span of 13 years. Researchers studying the signals from distant pulsars, made use of radio telescopes to collect statistics that may indicate the effects of gravitational waves.

During the course of the research, NANOGrav found an intriguing low-frequency signal. According to study authors, the low-frequency signal may be attributable to gravitational waves.

Joseph Simon, lead researcher on the paper stated that it is incredibly exciting to see such strong singal emerge from the data. He added that the gravitational-wave signal that they are searching for spans the entire duration of their observations, and they need to carefully understand the noise.

He went on to state, "This leaves us in a very interesting place, where we can strongly rule out some known noise sources, but we cannot yet say whether the signal is indeed from gravitational waves. For that, we will need more data.”

Pedro Marronetti, NSF Program Director for gravitational physics stated that NANOGrav has been building towards the first detection of low-frequency gravitational waves for over a decade and that the insights they gain on cosmology and galaxy formation are unparalleled.


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