Home » News & Blogs » Q: What's the Difference Between a "Gravitational Wave" and a "Gravity Wave"?
Bookmark and Share
Living LIGO

Q: What's the Difference Between a "Gravitational Wave" and a "Gravity Wave"?

19 Jan 2013, 02:27 UTC
Q: What's the Difference Between a "Gravitational Wave" and a "Gravity Wave"?
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

The things that LIGO looks for are called gravitational waves (which are discussed in depth here on my blog and on the LIGO website). That can be a mouthful, especially when having a conversation about them. People, including us professionals, realize this and often take the shortcut of calling them "gravity waves". It sounds so similar that this must mean the same thing, right? Well, no!GRAVITY WAVES ARE NOT GRAVITATIONAL WAVESThe proper technical use of gravity wave refers to waves on the interface of two fluids, which can be liquid and/or gas. Where this boundary is disturbed, gravity will pull it down and buoyancy will push it up. This combination of opposite push and pull creates a wave that moves out over the surface. You can make your own interface of two fluids by filling a glass with some water and oil:A glass containing oil and water. Oil settles at the top because it is less dense (more buoyant). [Source: Wikipedia]Water and oil will separate if left alone. This separation creates a boundary between the oil and water with the oil on top since it is less dense. Now imagine gently tapping on the side of the glass. The vibration ...

Latest Vodcast

Latest Podcast

Advertise PTTU

NASA Picture of the Day

Astronomy Picture of the Day

astronomy_pod