Exploring Gravitational Waves

In a watershed moment, a collaborative effort among international astronomers has heralded the substantiation of gravitational waves’ existence through meticulous pulsar observations. Notably, India’s prestigious Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) stands shoulder to shoulder with five other global behemoths, playing a pivotal role in delivering this epochal evidence. This accomplishment stands as a testament to humanity’s unrelenting pursuit of unravelling the universe’s most profound mysteries.

Key Findings

In a landmark revelation, scientists have unveiled the inaugural direct proof of the ceaseless ripples within the fabric of space-time, evoked by ultra-low frequency gravitational waves.

Moreover, they have pushed the boundaries by establishing novel thresholds for the potency and frequency of these waves, harmoniously aligning with theoretical prognostications.

Significantly, on the cusp of a groundbreaking breakthrough, researchers stand at the threshold of uncovering nanohertz gravitational waves. This tantalizing prospect unfurls new vistas for delving into the evolution of galaxies, cosmological enigmas, and the fundamental tenets of physics, promising to reshape our perception of the cosmos itself.


Pulsar Timing Arrays (PTAs) stand as global partnerships uniting radio telescopes in a concerted endeavor. Spanning countless years, these alliances diligently scrutinize hundreds of pulsars, aiming to unveil the intricate dance of gravitational waves within the nanohertz frequency band.

In this captivating cosmic pursuit, the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) assumes a significant role within the Indian Pulsar Timing Array (InPTA). An alliance bridging Indian and Japanese researchers, InPTA harnesses the wealth of data collected by GMRT, synergizing it with insights gleaned from other telescopes. This collaborative symphony harnesses the power of international cooperation, unlocking the celestial harmonies of gravitational waves.

What is GMRT? 

The Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) stands as a marvel of scientific ingenuity, comprising an assemblage of 30 fully steerable parabolic radio telescopes, each boasting a diameter of 45 meters. Nestled near Narayangaon, Pune in India, GMRT is meticulously overseen by the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA), an integral component of the esteemed Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai.

This colossal arrangement of telescopic prowess elevates GMRT to the echelons of greatness, proudly claiming its title as one of the most extensive and responsive radio telescope arrays worldwide, specialized in the realm of low frequencies. This monument to scientific advancement has recently undergone a transformational rebirth, marked by substantial upgrades in its receivers and electronics. These enhancements have bestowed upon GMRT heightened sensitivity and expanded bandwidth, ushering forth its new identity as the upgraded GMRT (uGMRT). This evolution fortifies GMRT’s stature as a beacon of discovery, poised to illuminate the cosmic tapestry in ever more intricate detail.

How Does GMRT Detect Gravitational Waves? 

The Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) employs an ingenious strategy to capture the elusive gravitational waves. It harnesses the remarkable properties of pulsars, which serve as humanity’s accessible cosmic timekeepers—neutron stars that spin at extraordinary rates.

Pulsars emit precise radio wave pulses in regular intervals, allowing scientists to meticulously measure their rotation periods and distances. This precision becomes the bedrock for GMRT’s method. By deploying Pulsar Timing Arrays (PTAs) across the celestial sphere, GMRT discerns minuscule fluctuations in the arrival times of these pulses, wrought by gravitational waves traversing the Earth-pulsar alignment. This sophisticated approach, aptly termed “pulsar timing,” lays bare the subtle signatures of these waves.

At the heart of this endeavor lies GMRT, a pivotal participant in the PTA enterprise. With its capacity to capture low radio frequencies and its heightened sensitivity, GMRT emerges as a linchpin, amplifying our ability to unravel the enigmatic cosmic fabric woven by gravitational waves.

What are Gravitational Waves?

The fabric of space-time quivers with gravitational waves, a result of the universe’s tumultuous and dynamic events. Echoing through the cosmos, these ripples bear witness to the violent and energetic occurrences that shape our celestial tapestry. Remarkably, over a century ago, Albert Einstein’s prescient insights into the general theory of relativity paved the way for predicting the existence of these elusive phenomena in 1916, igniting a journey to unlock their mysteries.

Production of Gravitational Waves

In the cosmic symphony, cataclysmic events conduct the most powerful gravitational waves. Collisions of black holes, explosive supernovae, and the merging of neutron stars compose the crescendo of these ripples in space-time. But even the rotation of non-spherical neutron stars lends its harmonious notes to the composition, creating gravitational waves that ripple across the cosmos. These ripples might also hold echoes of the universe’s birth, remnants of gravitational radiation from the Big Bang itself, whispering secrets of our cosmic origin through the ages.

Features and Detection 

The delicate nature of gravitational waves poses a formidable challenge for detection due to their feeble interaction with matter. Nevertheless, a milestone breakthrough occurred in 2015 when gravitational waves were first detected. This achievement was accomplished through a groundbreaking experiment utilizing Laser Interferometer Gravitational Observatory (LIGO) detectors.

Sensitive instruments like interferometers, exemplified by LIGO, are meticulously designed to unveil the secrets of gravitational waves. They achieve this by meticulously measuring minuscule disruptions in the fabric of space-time, providing a window into the cosmic symphony of ripples that Einstein’s theory of relativity envisioned over a century ago.

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