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Black holes (didnt know where to put this question)

  1. Aug 23, 2010 #1
    this is buggin me. could some one please explain in lay terms what they believe happens when 2 black holes are close enough to be in an elyptical orbit around each other at speeds that would be approaching the speed of light pryor to the smaller one being absorbed into the larger they would have to be distorting space/time fabric around them terribly and causing a hell of a ripple effect. what do u suppose would happen were it to be close enough to the earth that we were to b hit by one these ripples in the fabric of space/time?
    does anyone care to speculate on the effect it might have on our position in space/time? i just watched a show that descussed black holes orbitting and i thought about it and its got me trippin! thanx
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 23, 2010 #2


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    In theory, we're constantly being bombarded by these "ripples" as you call them, or in more technical parlance, gravitational waves. Unfortunately, they're so miserably weak that even out most sensitive experiments have failed to detect them (see LIGO, for example). Of course, these sources are expected to be many many light years distant, so one could legitimately ask what would happen if the source were much closer.

    The answer to that question, then, is given here:
    Where you read about the effects of the gravitational wave, specifically the effects of the two different polarizations.

  4. Aug 27, 2010 #3


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    Good answer, Nabeshin. I still hold hope that LIGO will earn its keep. I have faith tuning exercises will eventually yield results. This tuning process was anticipated from the beginning. There was not so much doubt of success as uncertainty about how long it would take.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2010
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