Main Question or Discussion Point
In the most recent postings on LIGO, it is stated that the amplitude of the signal is less than the diameter of a proton after the propagation of the wave over billions of light years. I am assuming that the wave amplitude will decay as 1/r^2, but perhaps that is an incorrect assumption. So is there a way to calculate how big the magnitude of the wave will be at the source (colliding black holes or neutron stars)? If the wave does decay with distance, I assume it would start with an amplitude in kilometers, what would that mean in the physical space close to the source? Would an object in front of me be suddenly miles away as the wave passes, or would everything just be ripped apart? How far would you have to be before you could survive the passage?