Physics Van 3-site Navigational Menu

Physics Van Navigational Menu

Q & A: gravitational waves from spin?

Learn more physics!

Most recent answer: 04/29/2014
Q:
The earth drags the space time along in its rotation (action). Result, the rotation of the earth is slowing down slightly (reaction)?
- Eric Van Loocke (age 72)
Belgium
A:

To the extent that the Earth is symmetrical, no. The spin slightly alters the gravitational effects, in a barely measurable way, but that doesn't radiate energy. It's sortof like how a spinning uniform charge has electric and magnetic fields but doesn't give off electromagnetic waves. The spinning things that do radiate a lot of gravitational wave energy are binary pulsars, which are not close to being symmetrical about the rotation axis. () In principle, the Earth should radiate a tiny, tiny amount due to the slight bumpiness of the surface. Any effect on the rotation rate is negligible compared to tidal effects from the Moon.

Mike W.


(published on 04/29/2014)

Follow-up on this answer.