gravitational wave


Definition of gravitational wave

: a disturbance in space-time in the form of a wave that propagates the gravitational field Gravitational waves are a natural offshoot of the rubber-sheet construction of general relativity. Just as a massive object sitting on the fabric of spacetime creates a dimple, so moving or changing objects, under certain conditions, create wrinkles in the fabric. Those wrinkles, tiny distortions in spacetime, zoom away at the speed of light. Because these gravitational waves carry energy, anything emitting them will lose a tiny bit of its speed.Science

Examples of gravitational wave in a Sentence

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But most importantly, LIGO will be able to pick up gravitational waves from much farther away. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "LIGO Gravitational Wave Observatory Getting $30 Million Upgrade," 15 Feb. 2019 These would rely on surveys of previously inaccessible stellar populations or even observations of gravitational waves from large numbers of colliding neutron stars to obtain additional independent measurements of the Hubble constant. Lee Billings, Scientific American, "Cosmic Conflict: Diverging Data on Universe’s Expansion Polarizes Scientists," 16 May 2018 For example, with the computer program Einstein@Home, anyone can use their computer’s idle time to help search for gravitational waves from colliding black holes. Eileen Meyer, Smithsonian, "Big Data is Transforming How Astronomers Make Discoveries," 15 May 2018 Not only were no gravitational waves detected, but inflation was still unconfirmed. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Inflation theories must dig deeper to avoid collision with data," 6 Dec. 2018 Recent breakthroughs in detecting gravitational waves promise to give us a much better look into the properties of black holes. Frank Wilczek, WSJ, "Black Holes May Have ‘Hair’ That We Can See," 3 Jan. 2019 But the same can be said for other massively ambitious experiments, like detecting gravitational waves and building the Large Hader Collider. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "We Already Know How To Build a Time Machine," 28 May 2018 The researchers expect that, within five years, primordial gravitational waves will be detected. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Inflation theories must dig deeper to avoid collision with data," 6 Dec. 2018 The strongest gravitational waves come from the collision of black holes or very dense objects called neutron stars. Mary Beth Griggs, The Verge, "Ancient black hole collision is the most massive researchers have ever observed," 3 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gravitational wave.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of gravitational wave

1906, in the meaning defined above

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11 May 2019

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The first known use of gravitational wave was in 1906

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