Gravitational waves have often been described as the “smoking gun” evidence for inflation. This demonstration simulates the effect of a passing gravitational wave, by visualizing a group of motionless particles on a plane, arranged in a ring. Although we cannot see the gravitational wave, we can see how it bends and moves the ring of particles. The oscillations depicted here are greatly exaggerated for visual purposes — in reality the amplitudes of these gravitational waves are quite small. Take a look at how the two differently polarized gravitational waves might affect a ring of motionless particles.
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