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Questions about gravitational waves?

  1. Dec 18, 2014 #1
    Hello. I would like to ask if really gravitational waves (GWs) exist? Mathematically they are predicted to exist. However despites the intense efforts invested to detect them so far they cannot be detected.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 18, 2014 #2
    Thanks in advance for any reply.
     
  4. Dec 18, 2014 #3

    PeterDonis

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    Staff: Mentor

    There is indirect evidence that gravitational waves exist, yes. The best evidence is changes we have observed in the orbital parameters of binary pulsars, which can only be explained as loss of energy in the binary system due to the emission of gravitational waves. The orbital changes observed are consistent with the predictions of General Relativity for gravitational wave emission.

    The binary pulsar with the longest time series of observations is the Hulse-Taylor binary pulsar, described here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PSR_B1913+16
     
  5. Dec 18, 2014 #4
    Thank you PeterDonis for your kind answer and for the link. So, so far we just know from an indirect evidence that GWs exist. Now I have another question, please. Why GW cannot be directly detected? Their are many workgroups working on that such as ALIGO, but if I am not wrong they seem stuck to noise poblems. Is that (one of) the reason why GWs cannot be directly detected?
     
  6. Dec 18, 2014 #5

    PeterDonis

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    It's not that they "cannot" be; we expect to eventually detect them directly. The problem is that the GWs we could potentially detect here on Earth are so weak that it takes an extremely sensitive detector that has to be isolated extremely well from all other disturbances. That's very hard to do, which is why we aren't quite there yet.
     
  7. Dec 18, 2014 #6
    Alright, Thank you for the information. It is very helpful. I hope I will hear from you again at my probable future questions on this topic.
     
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