How Gravitational Waves Work (infographic)

4. 2. 15 by Jolene Creighton

Jacques Cousteau once said, “What is a scientist after all? It is a curious man looking through a keyhole, the keyhole of nature, trying to know what’s going on.” The scientists working at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) have a similar attitude when it comes to the quest for gravitational waves. This unusual theoretical phenomenon was originally predicted by Einstein in the same 1916 paper that gave us Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

A gravitational wave is a ripple in the fabric of spacetime. They are hypothetically created by large gravitational disturbances, kind of like waves in a pond; a better analogy might be to compare them to electromagnetic waves.

Gravitational waves, though weaker than its electromagnetic counterpart, have the advantage that they can pass through other matter without being significantly affected. Because of this, gravitational waves may help us to answer questions about the basic construction of the universe.

See the below infographic from space.com for more information on how they work and why they are important. And an image from Nature on how we might detect them.

Advertisement

Via Space.com
Image via Nature


Futurism Readers: Find out how much you could save by switching to solar power at UnderstandSolar.com. By signing up through this link, Futurism.com may receive a small commission.

Share This Article

Keep up.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter to keep in touch with the subjects shaping our future.
I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its User Agreement and Privacy Policy

Advertisement

Copyright ©, Camden Media Inc All Rights Reserved. See our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Data Use Policy. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with prior written permission of Futurism. Fonts by Typekit and Monotype.