“We’re saying that we made a measurement that is about a thousandth the diameter of a proton, that tells us about two black holes that merged over a billion years ago. That is a pretty extraordinary claim and it needs extraordinary evidence.” And extraordinary evidence is exactly what researchers confirmed that they have discovered in a breakthrough that marks the first detection of gravitational waves. It’s a moment that confirms one of Einstein’s big theories and opens up a new era in science. As one researcher explains: “If what we witnessed before was a silent movie … gravitational waves turn our universe into a talkie.” It comes down to what sounds like a distant chirp. And it all began over a billion years ago, millions of galaxies from here. I’ll let The New Yorker’s Nicola Twilley pick up the story from there: Gravitational Waves Exist: The Inside Story of How Scientists Finally Found Them.

+ The Atlantic: What Gravitational Waves Sound Like.

+ “The chirp is also sweet vindication for the National Science Foundation, which spent about $1.1 billion over more than 40 years to build a new hotline to nature.” (That’s the kind of money and effort usually reserved for apps that enable people to share Selfies.)The NYT: Hearing a ripple in space-time (includes a good video).