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Gravity waves?

  1. Jul 22, 2011 #1
    I have always thought of gravity as being a phenomenon related to matter.
    I have always envisioned it as a "contraction" in spacetime reaching out in all directions from an object.
    What I mean by contraction is that the closer you get to a body of mass the more spacetime is compressed.
    Due to this compression of spacetime it is warped to propagate faster or slower depending on the distance from the center of mass that is creating the effect and the amount of mass/density.
    A better way to visualize what I am saying is to think of it as a wavelength. The spacetime closer to an object has a shorter wavelength and as you get further away the wavelength of space and time gets longer.
    And in cases of extreme gravity like a black hole the wavelength is so short that the waves are compressed to the point that they are essentially one, like a spring that has been compressed so that the "waves" are all touching.
    The only difference in the way I look at it and my wavelength analogy is that I look at gravity in terms of straight lines being compressed so you wouldnt really be able to see the compression like you would in a wavelength.
    Now my question is am I wrong, if so how wrong and what is right?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 22, 2011 #2
    I forgot to mention my thoughts on the affect gravity has on mass in my line of thinking.
    We know gravity is responsible for, well, basically falling. So when I think about this fact in relation to my above statements I would think that the compression lines of gravity work almost like a slide. The closer we get to an object the faster we "fall". Since we are stuck on Earth, for the most part, we are always in the most compressed region of spacetime relative to Earth, therefore we always "slide" right back down.
    I guess it would be easier to explain this with wavelengths as well. Imagine the wavelengths are moving towards the Earth, the wave is keeping us down the same way a water wave pushes a surfer towards shore.
    Now that I think about it a little more if its easier to explain as a wavelength then it is probably a wave anyways and not straight as I had previously thought.
    Now I have revised my thoughts on gravity to include waves.
    With that new perspective are my thoughts on the way gravity works correct, if not please correct my misunderstandings.
  4. Jul 22, 2011 #3
    I would like to add one more thing.
    I thought that gravity was not just a phenomenon related to matter, as I have stated above, but a phenomenon related to the way matter interacts with spacetime.
  5. Jul 22, 2011 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    Have you read up on General Relativity and other things relating to gravity? If not I recommend having a thorough understanding of those before trying to understand gravity differently.
  6. Jul 23, 2011 #5


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    Science Advisor

    I suggest the OP try a search on "gravitational waves."
  7. Jul 23, 2011 #6


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    Staff: Mentor

    Yes, there is that too.
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