Questions tagged [gravitational-waves]

Waves in spacetime formed by the acceleration of massive bodies. A passing wave causes spacetime to be stretched and squashed by a very small amount. Typically we can only detect the most energic gravitational events such as black hole mergers.

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Why is the discovery of merging neutron stars important?

I'm fairly certain people here will have heard about it, already, but apparently, two supernova leftovers clashed some 130 million years ago and some billion billion kilometres away ... What I haven'...
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Can gravitational waves pass through a black hole?

As the title says, what happens when a gravitational wave approaches a black hole? I would presume that something interesting happens because of the way spacetime works near black holes but I have no ...
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What did LIGO Actually See? (Gravitational waves discovery)

I am trying to find an original video/image of what LIGO actually saw, but all I can find is artist renditions of gravitational waves.
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Quantum Mechanics after the detection of Gravitational Waves

Of course everyone knows by now of the detection of Gravitational waves But, since General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics don't get along, can we say now that this detection proves that Quantum ...
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Are binary neutron star mergers needed to explain the abundance of gold?

The NPR News item Astronomers Strike Gravitational Gold In Colliding Neutron Stars mentions and quotes "Daniel Kasen, a theoretical astrophysicist at the University of California, Berkeley:" He ...
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Why does the sensitivity to GWs drops off inversely proportional to the distance?

This answer makes me wonder why the sensitivity to gravitational waves decreases proportionally to the distance. Since gravitational waves extend in all directions, my (uneducated) guess would be ...
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How far away are the events that caused the gravitational waves that have been detected?

A certain number of gravitational wave events have been detected. Is it possible to know how far away the mergers that caused those gravitational wave events are?
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Is there an upper limit on the mass of black hole mergers we can detect?

From the LIGO website, black hole mergers have been observed between black holes with a mass up to roughly 50 $M_\odot$. Are there no black holes with a mass above 100 $M_\odot$ or is this an ...
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Multi-messenger astronomy: what is the potential of simultaneous detection of gravitational waves and neutrinos from a supernova?

Thanks to the efforts of the aLIGO team, gravitational wave astronomy is a reality. At the same time, neutrino detectors like Hyperkamiokande are becoming much more sensitive. My question is: what ...
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Why do Earth and moon move apart but binary black holes move closer?

According to the accepted answer on Is the moon moving further away from Earth and closer to the Sun? Why?, the moon is receding from Earth because tidal forces and friction cause energy to be lost. ...
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Why can't supermassive black holes merge? (or can they?)

The CNet article Astronomers discover two supermassive black holes in a death spiral links to Discovery of a Close-separation Binary Quasar at the Heart of a z ~ 0.2 Merging Galaxy and Its ...
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Frequency of gravitational wave detection

You may have heard in the news that the LIGO experiment recently detected a gravitational wave. Though I'm not an astronomer, the paper is a good read and mostly accessible. The detection of the ...
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How exactly does inflation convert random gravity fluctuations into coherent gravitational waves?

In the course of this very enjoyable press announcement, it is mentioned that inflation can create gravity waves by amplifying gravity fluctuations. I do not properly understand this statement. I ...
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“Who saw” the binary neutron star merger first? What was the sequence of events? (GRB/GW170817)

I'm trying to read Multi-messenger Observations of a Binary Neutron Star Merger the "cast of thousands" OPEN Access ApJ letter 848:L12 (59pp), 2017 October 20 https://doi.org/10.3847/2041-8213/aa91c9 ...
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Why can we detect gravitational waves?

Now that LIGO has finally measured gravitational waves using a huge laser interferometer, to me, the question remains, why was it possible? As it is explained in many news articles, gravitational ...
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Will gravitational waves too far away ever reach us?

Gravity is the curvature of spacetime, and its effects travel at lightspeed. However, space is expanding; eventually, light from distant galaxies will become more and more redshifted, and we will no ...
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Life planets orbiting black-holes. Can/Do they really exist?

So, I watched Interstellar and if you watched it too you know that there's a planet orbiting a black-hole, they call it Miller's Planet. According to the movie, every hour on Miller's Planet is ...
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What would it feel like to be orbiting near a merging black hole?

The recent 4th discovery of gravitational waves where the black hole masses were 31 and 25 times the mass of the sun, and they released 3 solar masses of energy as gravitational waves, made me wonder ...
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From where does the energy for gravitational waves come from?

As far as I understand, in the events detected by LIGO, about 4% of the total mass of merging binary black holes was converted to gravitational waves. Where does this energy come from, i.e. what ...
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How does the Gamma Ray Burst that occurred when 2 black holes merged compare to other GRB's?

A Gamma Ray Burst was detected 0.4 seconds after the gravitational wave event, GW150914, caused by a black hole merger, and it was in the same part of the sky. It is uncertain whether that Gamma Ray ...
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Is there a limit to the distance of detectable gravitational wave events?

This is somewhat a follow up question to this one. This article indicates that the binaries detected have a distance between 320 and 2840 Mpc. With the current technology, is there a limit to the ...
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The size of the radius of the event horizon of a black hole created by the merger of a black hole binary system

Let's assume that you had a black hole binary system and everything said here is possible. Their large masses would lead to a large emission of gravitational waves. The loss of orbital energy and ...
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What changes are being made to VIRGO and LIGO (if any)?

Gravitational wave detectors VIRGO and LIGO are currently down for some updates, slated to be completed sometime early next year (they hope). What exactly are they doing? I hadn't heard it was down ...
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What will eLISA be trying to observe?

eLisa - Evolved Laser Interferometer Space Antenna. A LISA-like mission is designed to directly observe gravitational waves, which are distortions of space-time travelling at the speed of light. ...
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Energy deposition in planet Earth due to gravitational waves

The gravitational wave detected by the LIGO observatory acted on planet Earth streching and shrinking it a little bit. I assume that not all of this action was fully elastic and that some energy of ...
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Do supernovae produce powerful gravitational waves?

I would think that the amount of energy produced by one supernova is much more than a pair of colliding black holes, no? Wouldn't that much material and energy output from the explosion generate a ...
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When are gravitational waves emitted during a merger of black holes?

When black holes are merging, and emitting gravitational waves, are we seeing those waves start when the event horizons are merging, or when the singularities are merging?
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Expansion and Gravity

If space is undergoing accelerated expansion then regions of space are becoming inaccessible to us even at light speed. If gravity is bounded by light speed then inaccessible regions of space no ...
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Does LIGO have a blind spot?

If I understand the principle of operation of operation of LIGO, it detects relative distortions of the two perpendicular arms. So if both arms are distorted the same way, nothing would be spotted. ...
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What do the acronyms in “AT 2017 gfo” mean?

About 11 hours after the detection of GW170817 by Ligo/Virgo and the quickly succeeding detected GRB170817, a transient afterglow in the optical-nIR frequency appeared which showed many signs of r-...
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What's the actual speed of electromagnetic radiation in space?

The speed of EM radiation is very slightly less than $c$, because space is not quite a vacuum. Say EM travels at $(1-\varepsilon)c$. For example, this results in a slight delay between receiving a ...
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What is the schedule for science runs of aLIGO (and VIRGO)?

Advanced LIGO seems to operate only intermittently. Is there a schedule for at what times it will be able to register new gravity waves? Even if no formal schedule is available, what main factors ...
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Do mixed type remnant collisions produce anything interesting?

The recent detection of a binary neutron star inspiraling and colliding raises an interesting question in my mind. Type Ia supernovae are believed to be caused by white dwarf/regular star pairs and/or ...
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Why can primordial tensor perturbations of the CMB be ascribed to gravitational waves?

Why can primordial tensor perturbations of the CMB be ascribed to gravitational waves? Is this attribution unique, or are there other mechanisms that could lead to the excitation of tensor modes? In ...
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Would LIGO Detect Head-On Collision?

Assume two black holes collide head-on. In other words, they were not orbiting one another before the collision. I know this is unlikely. Further assume that their sizes and distance from Earth are ...
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Does a gravitational wave loses energy over distance?

How does a gravitational wave travel over vast distances without losing its energy? Could they go on forever as long as the Space? Thank you
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What do gravitational waves allow us to understand?

Before reading this question, you should read this paper. From what I understood, we managed to detect gravitational waves for the first time. Is this discovery going to help us understand ...
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Have more recent LIGO/VIRGO gravitational wave measurements narrowed down the speed of gravity further?

This answer to How precise are the observational measurements for the speed of gravity? says: ...in 2013 a Chinese group built a model using Earth's tides that helped them narrow it down. ...
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Can't pulsars and stars be used for gravitational wave measurement?

Suppose that we collected photons from a distant star, and they arrive regularly at 15 photons every microsecond onto a CCD, when a gravity wave bends space time, wouldn't the regular 15 photons graph ...
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How did the Hulse-Taylor Pulsar Provide Confirming Evidence of General Relativity?

What measurements and observations of the Hulse-Taylor Pulsar agreed precisely with the predictions of general relativity, and how did these measurements support the theory?
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GW from merging of neutron stars and black holes

If it had been detected gravitational waves from merging of black holes (BH), and neutron stars (NS), why there are no detection of black holes merging with neutron stars? Why a BH-NS merging should ...
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1answer
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Items at the Event Horizon vs. colliding Black Holes

Items reaching a Black Hole's Event Horizon seem to be frozen in time from the point of view of an outside observer. On the other hand, Black Holes collide and merge, in finite steps, producing ...
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How to compensate the effect of tectonic activity in devices like LIGO?

In late 2015, the LIGO project team announced the detection of gravitational waves. The detector is (very basically) a laser measuring the distance between two mirrors in vacuum, over a large-enough ...
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Why is the detection of gravitational waves such a “Big” deal? [duplicate]

I'm a non-scientist. Today's announcement of LIGO's detection of GW waves has been heralded as "huge" –on the same level as the Higgs Boson detection. I realize this is the last remaining part of ...
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What is the detection threshold of gravitational waves for LIGO?

Since now two neutron stars have been detected merging via gravitational waves, I was wondering what is the current detection threshold that the LIGO detectors can achieve. Considering that the first ...
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1answer
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Is it possible to get a glimpse of the Big Bang through gravitation waves?

I read in an article announcing the detection of gravitational waves by LIGO that it will be possible to detect them from the Big Bang. Is this true?
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Expected nature of LISA's data; will it be more like a forest of static peaks, or a series of individual events?

@RobJeffries' clear answer to Which things “LIGO can see things that LISA can't”, and vice-versa? explains that the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna or LISA will only be sensitive to gravitational ...
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1answer
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Would gravitational waves be subject to external gravitational perturbations?

Given that the gravitational wave detected by LIGO was a very weak echo of a very distant event, could it have been "deviated" and distorted on its way here by a sufficiently massive black hole in ...
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What is a thermal distribution of eccentricities?

The abstract of the new (open access) paper in Nature A statistical solution to the chaotic, non-hierarchical three-body problem says: The three-body problem is arguably the oldest open question in ...
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Gravitational waves: how can scientists derrive the sizes and spin and distance of two merging black holes?

After recording the ripples of passing gravity waves I would imagine that some high-power math would be required to derive information about the sizes, spin, and distance of the merging black holes. ...