Browse Definitions:
Definition

gravity wave (or gravitational wave)

A gravity wave (or gravitational wave) is a ripple in the curvature of the space-time continuum (the enmeshed combination of our three perceived physical dimensions, plus time) created by the movement of matter

Long thought to exist before they were detected, gravity waves were first hypothesized in Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, which predicted that an accelerating mass would radiate gravitational waves as it lost energy. For example, it would be expected that two pulsars (celestial bodies that emit radiation in regular pulses) in orbit around each other should emanate gravity waves as their orbits decay. In accordance with the first law of thermodynamics, which states that neither matter nor energy can be created or destroyed although either may be transformed, the energy loss associated with the orbit's decay is radiated as gravitational waves. According to theory, gravity waves propagate at approximately the speed of light and pass through matter unchanged, alternately stretching and shrinking distances on an infinitesimal scale. Their strength decreases as a function of distance from their source. The study of gravitational waves could yield an incredible amount of information about the universe and lead to many practical applications. For example, their ability to pass through matter unaltered could enable the transmission of a signal over vast distances in space.

Around the world, several countries have constructed gravity wave detectors, highly sensitive instruments designed to detect gravity waves and identify their sources. In the United States, the detector project is called LIGO (for Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory). LIGO researchers have been working to establish the existence of gravitational waves and prove whether or not they actually propagate at the speed of light and cause the displacement of matter that they pass through.

The LIGO system consists of suspended weights with mirrored surfaces that can move freely horizontally. If a gravitational wave passes through, the distance between the weights (which is measured by a laser beam moving back and forth between the mirrors and then recombined at a photodetector) is altered. The LIGO project uses the resources of volunteered personal computers collaborating through distributed computing. PC users can download the software from LIGO; the project is called Einstein@home.

On February 11, 2016, David Reitze, executive director of LIGO reported that researchers had detected gravitational waves.  Reitze said the waves were created by the merging of two black holes, one of which had the mass of 29 suns and the other 36.

Researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a LIGO prototype sensitive enough to detect a tiny movement (many times smaller than the diameter of a single hair) in a test weight 40 meters away. Other gravitational wave detection projects include a collaborative effort by France and Italy called VIRGO, another by Germany and Great Britain called GEO 600, a project in Japan called TAMA 300, one in Australia called ACIGA, and NASA's LISA project.

The Verge explains how gravity waves work and how they were detected:

This was last updated in February 2016

Continue Reading About gravity wave (or gravitational wave)

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

A gravity wave and a gravitational wave are two different things: gravitational waves are ripples in the curvature of spacetime that propagate as a wave. A gravity wave, on the other hand, is the wave propagated in a fluid medium because of the effect of gravity.
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • smart contract

    A smart contract, also known as a cryptocontract, is a computer program that directly controls the transfer of digital currencies...

  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

SearchSecurity

  • evil maid attack

    An evil maid attack is a security exploit that targets a computing device that has been shut down and left unattended.  An evil ...

  • Common Body of Knowledge (CBK)

    In security, Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) is a comprehensive framework of all the relevant subjects a security professional ...

  • rootkit

    A rootkit is a program or, more often, a collection of software tools that gives a threat actor remote access to and control over...

SearchHealthIT

  • value-based healthcare

    Value-based healthcare, also known as value-based care, is a payment model that rewards healthcare providers for providing ...

  • health informatics

    Health informatics is the practice of acquiring, studying and managing health data and applying medical concepts in conjunction ...

  • clinical trial

    A clinical trial, also known as a clinical research study, is a protocol to evaluate the effects and efficacy of experimental ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • crisis communication

    Crisis communication is a method of corresponding with people and organizations during a disruptive event to provide them with ...

  • Zerto

    Zerto is a storage software vendor that specializes in enterprise-class business continuity and disaster recovery in virtual and ...

  • crisis management plan (CMP)

    A crisis management plan (CMP) is a document that outlines the processes an organization will use to respond to a critical ...

SearchStorage

  • SSD write cycle

    An SSD write cycle is the process of programming data to a NAND flash memory chip in a solid-state storage device.

  • data storage

    Data storage is the collective methods and technologies that capture and retain digital information on electromagnetic, optical ...

  • hard disk

    A hard disk is part of a unit -- often called a disk drive, hard drive or hard disk drive -- that stores and provides relatively ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close