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the source

It’s the third time since 2015 that such a collision has been observed via an instrument called LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory), which consists of a pair of detectors, one in Hanford, Washington, USA, and the other in Livingston, Louisiana, each designed to measure gravitational waves from distant cosmological events.

Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space, created by movements of massive objects.

“Normally we don’t think of space as having any properties at all, so it’s counterintuitive,” says Michael Landry, director of LIGO’s Hanford.

  • I want to know what is the antecedent of the pronoun It? “It is counterintuitive”.
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The "it" referred to is the existence of ripples in the fabric of space, or (equivalently) the idea of such ripples.

Note that this is a common device in media: discuss an idea in original prose, then give reported speech that alludes to that idea. Without the original context of the interview, it can be hard to pin down exactly what the speaker was trying to say.

  • Why it doesn’t refer to space “normally we don’t think of space as having...” instead of the idea of such ripples? – Stevan Slewa Feb 7 '18 at 14:31
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    Because the thing referred to must be capable of being counter-intuitive. Only ideas can be counter-intuitive, not things. – JeremyC Feb 7 '18 at 14:42
  • I think "it" more simply refers to the observation, or the result if you prefer. In other words, the result wasn't something that was expected to be seen. – Max Williams Feb 7 '18 at 14:55

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