PLACING THE GRAVITATIONAL WAVE IN OUR TIME FRAME. Rebecca Boyle in a post on the FiveThirtyEight site (November 14, 2017) describes the way the gravitational wave I posted on here was perceived by scientists on August 17, 2017: “GW170817 [which is now the name for the event] was a relatively close 130 million light years from Earth, meaning its gravitational waves and light were emitted while the first flowering plants were busy evolving on Earth, around the time stegosauruses roamed the plains. But the event itself unfolded in less than three human-designated weeks.”

That is, although the event took place 130 million light years from earth, it lasted about three weeks in our earth time. Apparently the time in earth years that it took the light released by GW170817 to reach earth was the time it took for dinosaurs to flourish and disappear.

I find the juxtaposition of these time scales hard to comprehend. Three weeks, I understand. The time from the age of dinosaurs, I have some idea of. But 130 million light years?

I told Annalisa that when I tried to explain my feelings, I just wound up repeating my self. She said: “Are you surprised?”

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