Q&A: General Astronomy and Space Science
During stellar gravitational collapse, what could be the impact
generated by the variation of gravitational forces on the space
Stellar gravitational collapse could cause the fabric of
space-time to oscillate. These oscillations would spread out
from the collapsed object as gravitational waves. Gravitational
waves are also expected when black holes or neutron stars
collide, or when a black hole swallows a large amount of matter.
Different events would produce different patterns of
gravitational wave, and reveal information about the event that
could not be detected any other way. Although the waves are very
weak, scientists hope someday to detect these gravitational
waves, and open up a new field of observational astronomy.
One gravitational wave detector nearing completion is called
LIGO, for Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory.
Another one that uses a spacecraft is in the planning stage. It
is called LISA, for Laser Interferometer Space Antenna. See: http://lisa.jpl.nasa.gov/index.html