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B Gravitational waves what happens in between?

  1. Aug 10, 2016 #1
    Hi when i found out about the presence of gravity waves, i first thought 'what happens if they were to be reversed' and then i thought 'what happens to space time in between these waves?'
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 10, 2016 #2


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    Welcome to PF!

    What do you mean by "reversed"? Simply have the gravitational wave travel in the opposite direction?

    From wikipedia's article on gravitational waves: As a gravitational wave passes an observer, that observer will find spacetime distorted by the effects of strain. Distances between objects increase and decrease rhythmically as the wave passes, at a frequency corresponding to that of the wave.

    In between the waves, spacetime returns to its state prior to the wavefront's arrival, so the distances between objects will return to normal and whatever strain was imposed by the gravitational wave on solid objects will disappear.
  4. Aug 10, 2016 #3


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    Please distinguish gravitational waves and gravity waves. The latter are disturbances of the space-time metric, the former is what you have at a water surface. I will update the thread title accordingly.
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