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Testing gravitational wave observatories

  1. Jul 31, 2014 #1
    This may be a stupid question, but have the various gravitational wave observatories around the world been tested by seeing if they can detect man-made gravitational waves, and thus work as expected? Or would it be too unfeasible to make them, even given the extreme sensitivity that the detectors have already demonstrated?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 31, 2014 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    The detectors look for gravitational waves from astrophysical sources. Gravitational waves generated by non-self-gravitating sources like humans are fantastically small in amplitude so there's no point in even trying to detect them. You need extremely powerful astrophysical events to produce gravitational waves that have even a hopelessly small chance of being detected. Recently a more fruitful venue of gravitational wave detection comes from inflation.
  4. Jul 31, 2014 #3


    Staff: Mentor

    Yes. In order to make gravitational waves that we would have a chance of detecting, we would have to be able to wiggle around planet-sized, or at least asteroid-sized, masses however we pleased. The gravitational waves that would be produced by wiggling around even the largest masses we could possibly control are way too weak for our detectors to detect.
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