100 Years of General Relativity: Thought and Action
The direct detection of gravitational waves is certainly a Nobel Prize-worthy feat and the scientific community is in no doubt that this achievement is up there with the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012 and possibly even Edwin Hubble's realization, in 1929, that the universe is expanding.
Interestingly, it is theorized that different cosmic phenomena will generate different frequencies of gravitational waves. Modern astronomy focuses on the use of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum to explore the universe. Traditionally, the visible light portion of the EM spectrum has been used by astronomers to discover the planets and even peek at nearby galaxies. As astronomical techniques developed and the technology modernized, astronomers started studying different wavelengths, such as X-rays to see energetic events around black holes and infrared radiation to see inside star-forming nebulae.
But the direct detection of gravitational waves is a paradigm shift. With enough gravitational wave detectors, we will be able to "see" objects and phenomena that would otherwise remain hidden from the electromagnetic spectrum. Two colliding black holes, for example, may not produce much in the way of electromagnetic radiation, but they would produce a huge gravitational wave signal. And, like the electromagnetic spectrum, the frequency of gravitational waves would reveal the nature of the phenomenon generating them.