Distortions in curvature of space-time

February 12, 2016 01:35 am | Updated November 17, 2021 04:35 am IST

Just as waves spread out when a boat moves in water or a stone is thrown in a pond, gravitational waves are distortions in the curvature of space-time caused by motions of matter that propagate with the speed of light. Unlike waves that one is familiar with, such as sound and light, gravitational waves do not travel through space; the fabric of space-time itself is oscillating in response to the disturbances caused by moving masses. According to Einstein’s theory, the presence of a mass warps the space-time structure in its neighbourhood just as a ball does when placed on a rubber sheet .

The curvature of the warp determines its gravitational force. So when large masses move around or rapidly accelerate, the disturbance causes distortions in the static but warped space-time. A gravitational wave is this travelling distortion of space-time geometry itself.

Top News Today


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.