back to article Black-hole sniffing 'laser combs' are go, say Brit gov boffins

Boffins at Blighty's National Physical Laboratory (NPL) - birthplace among other things of the internet* and the Dambusters' bouncing bomb - say they have validated a cunning super-accurate, laser-assisted space formation flying tactic. This will allow the detection of ripples in the very fabric of space-time, allowing top …


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  1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD


    Alas, I have to correct you.

    Many, many, many years before that, an ancestor of mine truly invented the packet switch network by inventing, first, the postage stamp, and then having no means prior of marketing said stamp, inventing the post office (and as a byproduct of due process so, inventing marketing as a rather inglorious side effect), and henceforth inventing what we now know as the postal service.

    This so...

    I c4n h4z royalties plz?

    0.00001 euro on every bit of information sent by any sort of packet switched network in any shape or form would just about be very nice indeed.

  2. frank ly

    Ah, but can it detect 'gravitational waves'

    I thought that the problem with detecting gravitational waves using any timing and measurement technique, was that since space/time becomes distorted then the instruments themselves are affected by this distortion and so their 'readings' do not show any difference.

    e.g. space becomes slightly compressed and so the distance reduces, but the speed of light also reduces by an equivalent amount and so the timing of the signal does not change.

    This does not affect detection of local gravitational effects due to relatively small massive bodies, but will be a factor for a gravitational wave which will affect a massive region of space/time, and all the instruments in that region.

    Did I get that right or have I misunderstood the problem?

  3. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    Black holes in particular are hard to observe by normal optical means

    "Well, the thing about a Black Hole, its main distinguishing feature, is it's black. And the thing about space, your basic space colour is black. So how are you supposed to see them? "

  4. Robin

    Techie Talk

    "laser pulses are sent between the satellites or whatever"

    Is that the official terminology for the superset which includes satellites?

  5. peyton?


    I think the NPL may be feeling a bit sheepish about this invention. I mean, they haven't even bothered to update their bastard progeny, i.e., Wikipedia, with this information.

  6. Daniel Garcia 2

    @Ah, but can it detect 'gravitational waves'

    The speed of light is constant to any observer at any condition. if a space region that is crossed by light is expanded or compressed, the wavelength is expanded, but the speed is conserved.

  7. Andy Dingley

    Colour of space

    Space isn't black, it's very dark red. A shade called "3K". Black holes are black, as black as it gets.

  8. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    @Andy Dingley

    To be technically correct, it's actually dark 'microwave' as the wavelength of the CMB falls far beyond anything you might call red. And black holes tend to give off a lot of very energetic radiation of all sorts from the material falling into them, along with Hawking Radiation caused by virtual particles passing the event horizon and thus allowing their anti-partners to be essentially emitted by the black hole, so are most decidedly not black. Also, please note the quotation marks in my previous post...

  9. asdf
    Thumb Up

    LISA has to become a reality asap

    As a proud contributor to Einstein@home I can tell you gravity wave astronomy has the potential to revolutionize astronomy as much as the first telescope did. Gravity waves have the potential of allowing us to see the start of the big bang (impossible to do with electromagnetic waves as we can only see as far back as the last scattering about 300000 years after the big bang). In addition gravity waves could also help us detect the extra 6 dimensions string theory says exist but we can't see because electromagnetic radiation can't leave our 3brane (gravity however can because gravitrons are a closed loop and not confined to our brane). In short any boffin and science lover should be pushing their governments to make LISA become a reality as it is much cheaper than say CERN LHC and has the potential to make Hubble look like a childs toy.

  10. Chris Romero

    Ahem!!! Who invented the Internet????

    The author needs to check is butt. Because that must be where his brain is if he thinks lorry pilots fools Invented the Internet..

  11. Pascal Monett Silver badge


    Of course this is not yet on WhakyPedia - the editors are all busy doing important stuff like inserting goatses in articles about the latest star of whatever TV show was on yesterday. Either that, or they're forbidding such edits to the articles of their own favorite subject.

    In any case, this is wayyyy too intellectual for the WhackyP clan - it'll come when a proper scientist has time to do the edit.

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