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Gravitational waves point to primordial black holes © Mark Garlick/Science Photo Library/Getty Images

What would happen if a very strong gravitational wave passed through us?

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It's unlikely to end well.

Asked by: Thomas S Marcotte, USA


Gravitational waves spread out from any violent event involving matter – such as, say, the collision of two black holes. Like gravity, however, they’re incredibly weak, so you’d have to be extremely close to their source in order to feel their effects.

It would definitely feel weird, as they’d create a rhythmic stretching and squashing sensation on the body. But you’d have to be so close to the cataclysm itself that you’d never live to describe it.

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Robert is a science writer and visiting professor of science at Aston University.


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