AAS Day 1: A moment of (not a) discovery

There was sudden burst of “OH WOW” in my heart when in this morning’s press conference Steve Maran announced that he had word that LIGO had discovered a gravitational wave from the crab nebulae. I honestly have always worried if LIGO, with its ground-based nature, could overcome the instabilities of a planet covered in people, and experiencing platechtonics. To work, it has to measure slight changes in the distance a laser beam travels that are only a few hairs in size over many kilometers (the beam bounces down and reflects back 2km or 4km arms). This is H-A-R-D! So when Steve made the announcement I WOOTed. But… If you read one of the many press releases, you’ll see that in reality, LIGO simply failed to detect a gravitational...

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