Having just discovered a second source for the long theorized gravitational wave, some suggest that the newly confirmed phenomena could revolutionize astronomy and what we know about the universe.
So much is learned by taking advantage of the enormous width of the electromagnetic spectrum, wide enough that, as Gregory Benford points out, visible light is a mere one octave on a keyboard fifteen meters wide. Ultraviolet tells us about the gaseous halo around the Milky Way and shows us active galaxies and quasars while helping us analyze interstellar gas and dust. X-rays and gamma rays deepen our understanding of black holes and matter moving at extremely high velocities, tuning up our knowledge of supernovae....
Unlike electromagnetic waves, gravitational waves have the intriguing property that they propagate unperturbed once they have been created, which places the remote corners of the universe into our field of ‘view....’ As our sensitivity to such signals increases, we should be able to move from black holes to neutron stars and supernovae, and perhaps the merger of binary stars, as events that can be examined by these techniques.
The ability to peer into "the remote corners of the universe?" What a lovely thought.
I hope to see you at the IdeaFestival!