Stretch And Squash

(A Processing application to show how a gravitational wave distorts space)

Daniel Brown

October 2009

A new edition of this app is now available at the Laser Labs pages!

Gravitational waves are ripples of space-time. They are created, for example, when two black holes collide, far away in another galxay. Gravitational waves then travel through the universe at the speed of light. Gravitational wave detectors have been built to measure these waves using kilometer-sized laser interferometers.

This application shows how a passing gravitational wave would stretch and squash the distances between objects. The effect of stretching and squashing is exaggerated visually in order to illustrate the effect. Click on the image below to go to the download page, where you can also see a short video of the program.

The application has been built with Processing. See also our other Processing examples.