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WASHINGTON/CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Reuters) – Scientists have for the first time detected gravitational waves, ripples in space and time hypothesized by Albert Einstein a century ago, in a landmark discovery announced on Thursday that opens a new window for studying the cosmos.

The researchers said they detected gravitational waves coming from two distant black holes – extraordinarily dense objects whose existence also was foreseen by Einstein – that orbited one another, spiraled inward and smashed together. They said the waves were the product of a collision between two black holes roughly 30 times the mass of the Sun, located 1.3 billion light years from Earth.

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