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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:

Chapter 4: Black holes & Co.

Readers who would like to learn a bit more about gravitational waves first might want to check out the category Gravitational waves of our Spotlights on relativity.