What are gravitational waves?

Predicted by Albert Einstein but yet to be observed. Not so easy to explain either. These waves can stretch you and the whole planet which sounds a bit scary but you won’t even notice. In fact, it’s just a few years since we have had the ability to build a detector sensitive enough to (possibly) find a wave. The detectors are called Laser Interferometers and there are four of them already:

LIGO Hanford

LIGO Livingston

GEO

Virgo

It’s so difficult to detect a gravitational wave that scientist were fooled to believe they had found one in 2014. That discovery quickly fell apart. Therefore we can expect that next time it will be thoroughly scrutinized before announced. There are rumors that there has been a discovery by the LIGO team, we just have to wait until it is confirmed.

Nature: Gravitational waves discovery now officially dead

LIGO: What are Gravitational Waves?

Gizmodo: Why Gravitational Waves Would Be Such a Big Deal

Space.com: 5 Myths About Gravitational WavesInfographic

Why not let Neil deGrasse Tyson at StartTalk explain:

Wikipedia: Gravitational Wave | InterferometryLIGO

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Upcoming Space Missions

Where will we go this year? Both 2014 and 2015 were busy years for the space industry. This year will be adventurous too. I’m looking forward to missions like ExoMars, Juno arriving at Jupiter and the Osiris-Rex lifting off towards an asteroid. Check out Space.com, Wikipedia and Spaceflight Now.

Space.com: These are the Space Missions to watch in 2016

Spaceflight Now: Launch Schedule

SpaceX: Launch Manifest

JPL / NASA: Future Missions

ESA: Our Missions

Wikipedia: 2016 in SpaceflightSpaceflight Portal | ExoMars | Juno | OSIRIS-REx | 101955 Bennu

Movies and books for free

In the beginning everything was free. Well, at least on the internet. Today you can purchase movies, books and a lot more online. But a few things are still free. Old movies and books where copyright has expired or the creator just set it free.

Open Culture lists hundreds of free movies and ebooks. There are more than that there, just go and see. You will find movies by Hitchcock, Fritz Lang, Warhol, Kubrick, Cronenberg and Tarkovsky. Classics, unknown and old movies like the 39 Steps, Solaris and Plan 9 from Outer Space. You’ll find a movie about Alan Turing, one about Titanic and then 700 other movies.

That’s a good start, you’ll find more at

Open Culture

The Scale of the Universe

Business Insider made the above video that will show you the scale of our universe from the smallest part we know to the biggest. Movies and animations like this has been done for a while. The best is the Scale of the Universe 2, made by Cary and Michael Huang at htwins.net.

Khan Academy has its own Scale of the Universe, by Salman Khan.

Wikipedia: Khan Academy | Orders of magnitudeOrders of magnitude (length)