Why did everyone on Earth get stretched on January 5, 2020?

So, why was everyone on Earth stretched and compressed by an event that happened in space on January 5, 2020? An astrophysicist has answered that question.

Kirsten Banks, an Australian astrophysicist that graduated from the University of New South Wales, has replied to this question on her TikTok account, where she posts lots of digestible astronomy and space-related content. Banks explains that on January 5, 2020, gravitational waves traveled through the entire Earth and that these gravitational waves were caused by a black hole engulfing a neutron star. Video here.


#stitch with @mrkampfer black holes went om nom #askastrokirsten #nothank #space #astro #blackhole #neutronstar #gravitationalwaves

♬ original sound - Kirsten Banks

Banks continues and says that these gravitational waves affect all of spacetime, and when the gravitational waves passed through Earth, for a fraction of a second, all human bodies were stretched and compressed by 1/10,000th of the size of a proton, or about 30% of the size of human sperm (if the cosmic event happened one-light year away from Earth). Additionally, Banks explains that this isn't the first time researchers have detected these gravitational waves, as the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) has "detected more than 50 gravitational waves since the first detection in 2015."

If you are interested in more quick astronomy information, check out Kirsten Banks' TikTok account, as she constantly posts insightful content.


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