What would you hear if you could listen back to the very moment the universe burst into existence? In 2016, the LIGO Collaboration announced the first direct detection of gravitational waves from a pair of black holes that smashed together 1.4 billion years ago. The gravitational wave background is a persistent signal that comes from many such events that are overlapping but individually indistinguishable- the orchestral accompaniment to the binary black hole soloist. This cosmic hum will teach us about the earliest black holes ever formed and can even provide a soundbite of our universe’s early history, allowing us to...
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