As far as astronomical discoveries go, this is a big one. Image Credit: NASA / Alain Riazuelo
The major discovery is likely to usher in a whole new era of astronomy over the next few decades.
Recent rumors about the first ever detection of gravitational waves have turned out to be true as scientists have today announced one of the most significant astronomical discoveries in years.
Researchers at the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) have revealed that they have for the first time observed the warping of space-time generated by the collision of two black holes situated more than one billion light years from the Earth.
"We have detected gravitational waves," said LIGO executive director David Reitze. "It's the first time the Universe has spoken to us through gravitational waves. Up until now, we've been deaf."
First proposed by Albert Einstein as a consequence of his General Theory of Relativity back in 1916, gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space-time that carry energy across the universe.
"It is the first ever direct detection of gravitational waves; it's the first ever direct detection of black holes and it is a confirmation of General Relativity because the property of these black holes agrees exactly with what Einstein predicted almost exactly 100 years ago," said Prof Karsten Danzmann.
"There is a Nobel Prize in it - there is no doubt."