Gravitational waves promise a glimpse into regions of our cosmos that are inaccessible to regular astronomical observation. In the past, whenever astronomers have opened a new window to the universe (for example, at the beginning of radio astronomy or X-ray astronomy), this has brought about new, and often unexpected, results for astrophysics. With gravitational waves, researchers hope for a similar leap forward.
Although gravitational waves have only been detected indirectly so far, direct measurements are a possibility with the current generation of detectors. With the next generation of detectors, currently under development, direct measurement of gravitational waves is practically a certainty.
Elementary Einstein continues with a look at some compact objects that make promising sources for gravitational waves: