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Q: If Light is Stretched/Compressed by a GW, Why Use Light Inside LIGO?

18 Feb 2013, 07:10 UTC
Q: If Light is Stretched/Compressed by a GW, Why Use Light Inside LIGO?
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Wow! It's been a while since I've posted... After the start of a new semester (I have 150 students in the class I am teaching at LSU) and Hurricane Isaac (which shut LIGO Livingston down for almost a week, LSU for 3 days, and left me without power for a while), I am just getting my life back to a somewhat normal routine. I love even the hectic parts of my life, but I've missed writing about gravitational waves here on Living LIGO!Q: IF LIGHT IS STRETCHED/COMPRESSED BY A GRAVITATIONAL WAVE, WHY USE LIGHT INSIDE LIGO?Today I am addressing a question that many professional physicists fully don't understand! I wrote a little while ago about how light and gravitational waves will stretch out as the Universe expands (this is called redshift). If an object is coming towards us, its light is compressed (and this is called blueshift). Basically, if objects are moving, light and gravitational waves will experience a Doppler effect. I have also written about how a passing gravitational wave will stretch and compress space in perpendicular directions. When you put these two facts together, you come to the conclusion that the light inside the arms of LIGO is ...

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