Gravitational waves


In the field of physics, scientist Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves , which could only be discovered a hundred years after their prediction by LIGO scientists in 2015 . These represent an important advance in Einstein’s theory of relativity and for science in general.  


What are gravitational waves?

Gravitational waves represent a disturbance of space-time generated by an accelerating massive body that produces an expansion of energy in all directions at light speed . This phenomenon allows space time to stretch without being able to return to its original state. This gravitational disturbance propagates at the speed of light in space-time and generates microscopic disturbances that can only be perceived in advanced scientific laboratories such as those of LIGO or VIRGO .


Gravitational waves are disturbances that are generated in space time and usually occur between two or more space bodies , which produce a propagation of energy that is transported in all directions. This phenomenon causes the space time in the universe to expand and not return to its original shape.


This discovery generates significant contributions as they allow us to study space through its waves and plan other ways of understanding its behavior and characteristics.

  • Who discovered gravitational waves
  • features
  • How they originate
  • Detection of gravitational waves
  • Importance
  • Examples of gravitational waves

Who discovered gravitational waves

Gravitational waves was one of the last hypotheses described by Albert Einstein in his theory of general relativity . According to this famous scientist, the existence of this type of waves was a mathematical derivation of a basic assumption that affirmed that no object or signal could be faster than light.

A century later, they were detected and Einstein’s hypothesis was validated .

In 2014, the BICEP2 observatory announced the discovery of traces of gravitational waves generated by the Big Bang. But shortly after, this news was denied.

On September 14, 2015, the scientists of the LIGO experiment were able to detect them and announce their discovery to the world a year later, in February 2016.


Among the most representative characteristics of gravitational waves we can mention the following:

  • They are disturbances that alter the space-time dimensions.
  • They propagate at the speed of light in all directions.
  • They are transverse waves.
  • It can be polarized.
  • They carry energy.
  • They stretch space time.
  • Its origin cannot be determined.
  • They can occur in different frequencies.

How they originate

Gravitational waves can have their origin in several situations, some of them can be:

  • When two or more very high mass space bodies interact with each other.
  • The product of the orbits of two black holes.
  • Generated by the collision of two galaxies.
  • Two neutrons whose orbits coincide.

Detection of gravitational waves

Gravitational waves generate microscopic disturbances that can only be detected by large and delicate highly technologically advanced devices. These are known as interferometers and the largest are the Advanced LIGO, located in the United States, and the VIRGO, located in Italy .

Interferometers are made up of a system of tunnels several kilometers apart arranged in an L shape, through which lasers pass that bounce off mirrors and interfere when crossing. When a gravitational wave occurs, it is detected by a deformation in space-time between the mirrors found in the interferometer.

Other tools that allow us to detect gravitational waves are radio telescopes that measure light from pulsars and astronomical telescopes such as the LISA .


The importance of detecting these types of waves allows man to explore the Universe , listening to the vibrations that expand in space-time.

This discovery also made it possible to understand that the universe can be deformed and these deformations expand and contract throughout space like a wave.

It is important to mention that these waves are produced in the universe by violent events such as the collision of black holes. It is through gravitational waves that we can obtain information about these cataclysms that occur in the cosmos.

Likewise, these phenomena can help us understand and explain many of the basic laws of the field of physics , as well as provide information about space, its origin and how stars or black holes form or disappear.

Examples of gravitational waves

Gravitational waves are present in different space events such as the explosion of a star , the collision of two meteorites or when a black hole is formed , the explosion of a supernova , the radiation produced by the Big Bang, among others.

Some sources reveal that gravitational waves can come from small pulsations of compact objects, radiation from objects orbiting a black hole and a neutron star, as well as the accelerated rotation of non-spherical bodies, among others.

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