• Question: Can you physically see gravitation waves?

    Asked by edwardg to Christian on 11 Mar 2016.
    • Photo: Christian Killow

      Christian Killow answered on 11 Mar 2016:

      No, but we can measure the effect of them passing. The effect is so small that we can’t see it with our eyes, but we can make incredibly sensitive detectors to measure the effects:

      When a gravitational wave passes through the Earth (or a human being!) it stretches in one direction an squeezes in the other, then squeeze and stretch, and repeats. We use lasers to measure this stretching and squeezing and figure out information about what caused the waves in the first place.