While there is a small chance this is simply due to chance, it looks like the gamma ray burst was triggered by the merging black holes.
What are gravitational waves, and why is their detection such a big deal?
General relativity warps space and time, and astronomers can use that fact to their advantage.
One of the major problems with LIGO is that it is ground based. Any vibration of the ground, such as a truck driving on a road miles away, can cause noise in the signal. A better alternative would be to put the LIGO project in space. This is the idea behind the Evolved Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (eLISA)
We’re approaching the point where “quantum gravity” experiments could be made.
Gravitational waves are the last great prediction of general relativity to be directly observed. According to Einstein’s theory of gravity, a mass in motion creates ripples in space and time. Ripples caused by large masses like binary neutron stars or black holes should be large enough for us to detect across light years. But despite recent rumors, no gravitational waves have been detected so far.
Joseph-Louis Lagrange first studied the complexities of gravitational motion in the late 1700s.
Our understanding of gravitational dynamics is very good. With it we can send probes to distant worlds such as Pluto to an accuracy of a dozen kilometers. But sometimes our models don’t quite match reality. These astrometric anomalies are small and subtle, but they sometimes lead to a new understanding of the universe.
One of the last predictions of general relativity to be directly verified is gravitational waves. We have indirect evidence that they exist, but new research finds they may be even more difficult to detect directly that we’ve thought.