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Gravitational Waves

Gravitational waves produced by two orbiting bodies.


Gravitational Waves are visualized using Lyrca fabric, a source simulating two orbiting bodies, and a stroboscope. Please note this demonstration is large, has many pieces, and requires sufficient transport and assembly time. This demonstration shares many of the same components as the Gravity Simulator demonstration to visualize how masses bend spacetime.


To help understand and visualize gravitational waves.


  • High speed cordless drill
  • Machined piece with two adjustable ball casters.
  • Lycra style fabric.
  • Circular wooden ring to attach fabric onto.
  • Clamps to secure fabric under tension.
  • PVC pipes for support legs of the wooden ring.
  • Stroboscope

Machined piece to insert into cordless drill for simulating orbiting bodies.


Complete setup.


  1. Attach PVC pipes to large wooden ring so that ring can stand on the floor.
  2. Lay the Lycra fabric on top of the ring and clamp it providing tension to the fabric.
  3. Attach the machine caster piece (two orbiting bodies) to a cordless drill.
  4. Place the stroboscope so that the fabric will be illuminated.
  5. Place the machined piece on the fabric and press the drill to generate waves.
  6. Match the frequency of the drill and the stroboscope so that the waves appear to move in slow motion.


Any additional notes that don't fit in the above sections can go here. Helpful links, background information, whatever you feel like adding.

Some people are prone to epileptic seizures when exposed to a stroboscope. Please ask if anyone in the audience is known to be sensitive in this manner.

This setup has many pieces and the setup is involved and potentially needs more than one person. Please give plenty of advance notice of when the demo is needed and what room it will be needed in.

Demo room information

Location —-
Maker Unknown
Current State Working
demonstrations/8_astronomy/gravitational_waves/start.txt · Last modified: 2023/08/11 20:25 by demoroom