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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Researchers detected 35 new gravitational wave signals sent out by some of the most extreme crashes between massive objects in the universe over the course of four months.

Why it matters: These gravitational wave signals allow scientists to learn more about how massive objects like black holes and neutron stars that warp the fabric of the universe work and interact with one another.

What's happening: The 35 new detections — announced Monday — were made between November 2019 and March 2020 by LIGO and Virgo, gravitational wave detectors in the U.S. and Italy.

  • Among those 35 detections, scientists found signals from the mergers of black holes and neutron stars, and a pair of black holes that, combined, are only 17 times more massive than the Sun, among others.
  • "Looking at the masses and spins of the black holes in these binary systems indicates how these systems got together in the first place," Susan Scott of the Australian National University Centre for Gravitational Astrophysics, said in a statement.
  • "It also raises some really fascinating questions. For example, did the system originally form with two stars that went through their life cycles together and eventually became black holes? Or were the two black holes thrust together in a very dense dynamical environment such as at the centre of a galaxy?"

How it works: When a gravitational wave passes through Earth's part of space, it stretches and warps the fabric of space and time just slightly.

  • Extremely sensitive detectors like LIGO can pick up on that warping using lasers and mirrors that allow scientists to detect the moment these ripples pass through our part of space.

Go deeper: A whole new view of the universe

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Nov 9, 2021 - Science

A whole new view of the universe

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Historica Graphica Collection/Heritage Images/Getty Images

Astronomers are now at a point where they can test theories, settle debates and answer age-old questions about our universe that weren't possible even a decade ago.

Driving the news: An influential report published last week puts forward ambitious plans to develop technologies over the next 10 years that will fuel new discoveries about life in the universe.

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Philanthropy in the age of crypto

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The best charities are increasingly effective. That's the clear message sent by Open Philanthropy, the think tank that doubles as the grant-making vehicle for Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and his wife Cari Tuna.

Why it matters: With tech and crypto wealth becoming a fast-growing part of the philanthropic pie, there's more of an emphasis than ever on effectiveness — what the newly-divorced Melinda French Gates, in her recent Giving Pledge update, characterizes as giving as "impactfully as possible."