Some 5 billion years ago, in a galaxy far, far away, two huge black holes, weighing in at 34 and 51 solar masses, collapsed and merged into an 80-solar mass monster.

The dramatic event unleashed the energy equivalent of 5 solar masses in the form of powerful gravitational waves, propagating through space at the speed of light.

On July 29, 2017, these tiny ripples in spacetime — predicted over a century ago by Albert Einstein — reached Earth, where they were detected by the most precise measuring devices ever built by humans.

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