Originally posted by DeepThought
The waves they are talking about come from the end of the inflationary era. At that time the radius of the universe was of the order of 1 metre. They would be powered by the inflaton field going into its ground state. The subsequent expansion is just coasting and since the gravitational waves have a wavelength of the order of the size of the early uni ...[text shortened]... er, so called because the restoring force is gravity. The article is about gravitational waves.
I thought gravity waves was a stretching and compressing force like squeezing a tennis ball and letting go, something like that. The piece says the gravity waves coming out of the BB would now be something like the size of the universe even though they were cm's or meters wide when first created.
The recent measurement of those 2 black holes colliding released two or three star masses converted directly to gravitational radiation resulting in waves we could measure 1.3 billion years later and 1.3 billion light years away. Don't know how they figured the masses of each but it would have been small compared to all the energy in the universe compressed into a small volume and THAT converted to gravity waves, that would have had to have been enormously more energetic than the two black holes colliding. Of course whatever that energy was, say when it was a cm across is now 27 odd billion light years across so that energy would be not very dense now compared to when it was generated.
One thing I wondered, suppose you had been near the two black holes when they collided, outside the event horizon so you could perhaps live to tell about it, but how strong would the gravity waves have been close to the black hole's collision?
Seems to me it would have been traumatic if not fatal. Or not, not sure.