Einsteins general theory of relativity - the science behind seeing gravitational waves and black holes


the science around gravitational waves and black holes
Gravitational Wave, Plate 6698, dated 2023 from the '
Cymatic Water & Light' Series

Some weeks ago I discussed how gravitational waves were detected with solid data for the first time on earth by the LIGO (USA) & VIRGO (Italy) observatory scientists on June 28th 2023.

Images used to explain gravitational waves from Nasa & the science community in general are all CGI or AI generated. To explore the physics behind the theory in the studio I am creating these waves in a more visible & easily understood way through cymatics using only physics and a camera to clearly demonstrate these waves.

The confirmation of the existence of gravitational waves is a very important discovery in the scientific community. Albert Einstein predicted them in 1916 in his general theory of relativity. The data from LIGO (USA) & VIRGO (Italy) confirming their existence will aid many aspects of Astro Physics including the finding of new black holes which will now be a far simpler as telescopes themselves cannot see then, but now we can search for wave traces and locate them easily. A remarkable advance in itself; we are certain to find one very close to us now we know how to look.

Gravitational Waves evoke an analogy often used by scientists: the comparison between a complex, 3-dimensional spider web, and our “spongy” universe, with galaxies morphing into wall-like sheets, leaving huge voids of nearly empty space. This particular large-scale network can be seen as a reflection of the universe as though it had emerged through a cosmic cataclysm, caused by an entanglement of gravitational waves… making tangible an unfolding and affective understanding of space-time displacement. From this emerges a social space in the very act of becoming, the connection points acting as springboards for a continued symbiosis with our imperceptible universe.

Gravitational waves detected for the first time on earth by LIGO & VIRGO observatory scientists
Gravitational Wave, Plate 0257, dated 2023 from the '
Cymatic Water & Light' Series

A symbol of the interrelation of beings on earth and in space, Gravitational Waves are a heterogeneous immaterial architecture. Each point of interconnection becomes a social node supporting the entanglement of different perspectives. The idea of suspending the void, of capturing and separating it from the surrounding empty space, prompt reflections on the ways we attune with the Universe, floating as it were with our feet on the ground.

The data now shows that our universe is absolutely humming with gravitational waves. It is the language of nature that guides me, Its texts were written far before our coming into being and their exploration in the studio feel as profound to me as the unequivocal data confirming the existence of gravitational waves themselves.

The universe is humming with gravitational radiation—a very low-frequency rumble that rhythmically stretches and compresses spacetime and the matter embedded in it. The question now is: Are the long-wavelength gravitational waves with wavelength timelines ranging from years to decades, even to light years —also produced by black holes?

The black holes' orbital dance prior to merging vibrates spacetime analogous to the way waltzing dancers rhythmically vibrate a dance floor. Such mergers over the 13.8-billion-year age of the universe produced gravitational waves that today overlap, like the ripples from a handful of pebbles tossed into a pond, to produce the background hum. Because the wavelengths of these gravitational waves are measured in light years, detecting them required a galaxy-sized array of antennas to enable the collection of millisecond pulsars.Scientists are still not 100% sure that they are produced by supermassive black hole binaries. That is definitely the best guess, and it's fully consistent with the data.

Now with data confirming their existence, the next step is to fine tune & increase the sensitivity of our sensors and expand on our knowledge of astro physics because these findings are helping build an ancient tapestry view of our galaxy.

CYMATIC WAVE PRODUCTION NOTES - At certain frequencies, the waves resonate perfectly to create Faraday or standing waves. This is where the waves line up so well, the liquid takes on a pattern that doesn't appear to move; but what is interesting is the order, the connections and active link formations, almost like seeing electricity travelling through a circuit. functional and alive with ordered physics.


Cymatic Wave, Plate 6513, dated 2023 from the 'Cymatic Water & Light' Series

We can now explore the Inter connections of gravitational waves and astro physics. Gravitational waves are a phenomenon predicted by Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity, which describes gravity as the curvature of spacetime caused by mass and energy. Gravitational waves are ripples in spacetime itself, analogous to the way a stone creates ripples in a pond when thrown into it. These waves propagate outward at the speed of light, carrying information about the dynamic processes that generated them.

Astrophysics, on the other hand, is the branch of astronomy that focuses on understanding the properties, behaviour, and interactions of celestial objects and phenomena. It seeks to unravel the mysteries of the universe, ranging from the smallest particles to the largest cosmic structures.

The interconnection between gravitational waves and astrophysics is profound and transformative. allowing for...

Probing Extreme Events: Gravitational waves allow us to observe and study extreme astrophysical events that cannot be easily detected using traditional electromagnetic radiation. Examples include binary black hole and neutron star mergers. These events emit copious amounts of energy in gravitational waves as the massive objects spiral toward each other and ultimately merge. By detecting these waves, astrophysicists gain unique insights into the nature of these events and the characteristics of the objects involved.
Testing General Relativity: Gravitational wave observations provide an unprecedented opportunity to test the predictions of general relativity in extreme conditions. By comparing the observed waveform of gravitational waves with the predictions of the theory, scientists can validate or potentially uncover deviations from Einstein's equations, offering insights into the fundamental nature of gravity.

Cosmology and Distance Measurement: Gravitational waves from binary neutron star mergers can be used to measure cosmological distances with great precision. The observed light and gravitational wave signals from these events allow researchers to determine the Hubble constant, a fundamental parameter describing the rate of the universe's expansion. This has implications for our understanding of the universe's age, size, and evolution.

Nuclear Astrophysics: Gravitational waves emitted during neutron star mergers carry information about the extremely dense matter in the cores of these stars. Observing the merger and its aftermath provides insights into the behaviour of nuclear matter, as well as the production of heavy elements like gold and platinum through a process called r-process nucleosynthesis.

Einsteins general theory of relativity - the science behind seeing gravitational waves and black holes
Cymatic Wave, Plate 0166, dated 2023 from the 'Cymatic Water & Light' Series

Multi-Messenger Astronomy: The era of multi-messenger astronomy has been ushered in by the joint detection of gravitational waves and traditional electromagnetic signals (such as light, radio waves, and gamma rays). This approach provides a more complete picture of astrophysical events, allowing researchers to study the entire spectrum of emissions and gain a deeper understanding of the underlying processes taking place.

Deep Space Propulsion: Gravitational waves are vast amounts of energy travelling at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second) if we could harness this energy light year deep space propulsion systems become viable. Currently systems that allow for a space vehicle to exit earths gravitational pull take huge amounts of energy to lift each and every KG is the result of vast amounts of knowledge and experience to reduce that launch weight. Once in space low volume gas thrust fuels are used for moving the object around. think of the space movies you have seen, when a visible gas thruster pushes a Nasa shuttle for example closer to the docking port. These fuel systems are quite limited in capacity and must be used with absolute minimal waste if the project is to fulfil its full expected life term. These devices are in fact fuelled by a form of hydrogen peroxide (hair bleach) liquid, control sprayed over an aluminium allow vent, the resulting chemical reaction creates a violent plume of gas, which is then shaped through a nozzle or jet to enable the thrust as desired. Current ION, Hall, plasma & electrostatic thruster technologies using charged particles to create thrust in space will no doubt have new questions and avenues to explore and develop with revived impetus all circling back to Einstein’s 1916 general theory of relativity.

For me the interconnections between gravitational waves and astrophysics are so profound, they offer unique opportunities to study the universe in ways previously unattainable. The detections of gravitational waves by advanced observatories like LIGO and Virgo have revolutionised our understanding of the cosmos and have opened new avenues of exploration into some of the most extreme and mysterious phenomena in the known universe. 

Being able to visualise the theory in the studio using only physics without the use of tricks, CGI or AI to achieve these complex results in a purely analogue process to me is fascinating. The only strange thing about my practice is that I only want to produce these kind of pictures, and only this way. It can be done in other ways, but it would not be the same; not at all: through darkroom or digital manipulation of some kind, but this does not appeal to me. I have no desire to manipulate anything other than these liquid mechanics ; if I used these other methods, tricks would occur to me and I would be able to repeat them endlessly , to me that would be horrific and the pictures no good. 

The scene is there, created underwater; now I want to see the places it will go, new and unrepeatable. It appeals to me to be able to handle the work like this; not knowing what is coming.

gravitational waves
Cymatic Wave, Plate 0748, dated 2023 from the 'Cymatic Water & Light' Series

Think of a glass of wine on a table in your minds eye, see its sharp coloured lens effect as the sun passes through the wine showing its colour and form dancing on the tables surface. Now replace the table top with a 2 dimensional wave like the surface of the ocean. For over 4 decades I have been exploring that light interaction with what you now see in your minds eye. If you were below the water line (in this case your imagined table top) looking up at the glass, this would in effect be my canvas.

Now with proof of gravitational waves that scene can now be taken into every dimensional plane not just the 2d frame of the table top as the ocean, the waves with no seeming order are now coming towards your line of sight from every perceivable direction. Focussing your eye on the coloured light of the wineglass; its movement has now fundamentally changed. From this one single viewpoint you can now see in all dimensions as light and energy are squeezed & expanded, changing what you see and for how long you will see it. A profound space time fabric link that we can now use to see the universe anew.

This will now open up so many new and important ‘ways of seeing’, new research projects are already appearing in the month since the VIRGO announcement on June 28th. Black holes and other vast mass objects will now appear from the dark void of space through these new ways of detection. It is such a profound discovery, its confirmation in itself will ripple forward in the evolution of human understanding of astro physics. I cannot underestimate how far reaching this will be.

From these experiments we can clearly see how cymatics works & analogies between gravitational waves & cymatics as they draw close parallels in how they move and their appearance if we could see them, a multitude in every direction, rippling from one encounter into another like a multi dimensional ocean surface, all with a frequency, amplitude and direction, just fascinating. The new findings firmly align quantum physics & quantum mechanics with the general theory of relativity.

Einsteins general theory of relativity - the science behind seeing gravitational waves and black holes
Cymatic Wave, Plate 0864, dated 2023 from the 'Cymatic Water & Light' Series

Cymatic work specifically explores the relationship of resonance in wave behaviour, their interactions with specific shapes or parallels, some of the works have been created from inside 3d printed petri dishes with shaped facet edges. I am specifically interested in the prime numbers experimenting with every one of them upto 100, and, with this have achieved very specific ordered chaos & unique Faraday or 'standing waves' formations much like an organic micro; sampled below, using physics and a camera, nothing more these patterns hold steady and could be considered like the data in the micro chip water with memory even, organic and alive with physics.

Cymatics The Study of Wave Phenomena, a philosophical & artistic view of physics & science in photography II
Faraday Wave, Plate 0114, dated 2023 from the 'Cymatic Water & Light' Series


Making the waves visible over time is what I am exploring, seeing the waves intricate deformations as they interact with each other, just as in space to me has always been fascinating. For these experiments I am using strange lighting colour selection, as I really want to be able to study what is actually going on, I shall refine the palette as the project develops.

Cymatics The Study of Wave Phenomena, a philosophical & artistic view of physics & science in photography
Faraday Wave, Plate 0152, dated 2023 from the 'Cymatic Water & Light' Series


This offers a fuller consideration of cymatic works from an art and science point of view, but for me it is also a confirmation of the scope of my underwater process that has always worked in a multi-dimensional way. I use light like all photographers of course, this energy in the form of a wave of energised photons in my process is skimmed horizontally across the waters surface; never pointing directly at the subject below. The surface of the water having mechanical wave energy that create peaks and troughs, using this mechanical wave energy as a mobile fluid lens whose wavelength and amplitude are independently controlled; using the surface tension of the water to choose where and how the light should fall onto the subject.

It has been a lifelong obsession. A universal multi dimensional onion linking time and space, the more questions you asked of it, the more layers you discovered. It seemed endless, and completely absorbed my mind; over the years it has created a myriad of multidimensional interactions of light and subject, these unique wave forms are my life’s work. being able not only to place light in a certain place but to be able to drag it out or compress it through time; perhaps I am not explaining it well enough for those of you reading that do not know my work. The exposure time during my process can be used to grab, compress & expand what is actually physically there in direct relation to the water wave shape and the light lens it forms. With this process subjects visually deform and are seen within another dimension in itself of light being stretched and compressed as with Gravitational Waves..

To understand or have confirmed that the same principles i have been exploring, the way sound, time & light travel and the way that we can in fact study the gravitational waves of the known universe with experiments such as these for me is an unwavering obsession, below you can see a film piece from the 'Fusion' series exploring these very concepts usng a much larger scale. Its not like I do this because I failed at something else, for me there is nothing else.

'Dark Matter I' from the 'Fusion' series : 4k film : length 10:00 - dated 2021.
Collaboration video artwork with editing artist Oleg Deetz & audio landscape by SubOctane.

I hope you found this journal entry informative, please stay connected.
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