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

What exactly happened on January 5, 2020 that caused every human on Earth to be stretched and compressed for less than a second?

56 seconds read time

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.

Why did everyone on Earth get stretched on January 5, 2020? 01

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.

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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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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