Gravitational Waves

The idea about gravitational waves is a fascinating theory that has been around since the time of Einstein, but was only recently proven to be true. Learn more here!

Gravitational waves are a fascinating concept. The thought starts from the idea that gravity moves at the speed of light. Now, at the start this sounds like a silly idea. Doesn’t the force of gravity always act on people? Yet take this example. Say the sun were to simply disappear. Not explode or change, but just vanish. What would happen? As most people guess, the planets would shoot off into space, with nothing tethering them to our solar system anymore. But a question arises at when would the planets shoot off into space. Most would probably assume that the planet would instantly fly into space, right when the sun disappears. But that would mean that the force of gravity acting on the planets from the sun (and sudden lack thereof) would be traveling faster than light, since light from the sun doesn’t instantly reach every planet. Einstein claims that nothing can travel faster than light, and while it’s impossible to create a test where a star simply “disappears” it would be possible to test the gravitational impact from a huge event, like two black holes colliding. That’s exactly what a team of scientists studied in 2016, when two black holes light years away collided, and then earth felt the gravitational waves years after the impact. The debate on if there were gravitational waves, how strong they would be, when they would arrive, etc had been going on for years, with Einstein himself going back and forth on the issue. Yet with this new study coming to light, the existence of such gravitational waves, and further proof to Einstein’s theory has been confirmed, sending waves through the scientific community.

Published by phildowd

I'm a big fan of Pluto!

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