Space tells matter how to move, matter tells space how to curve. This is the main conclusion that can be drawn from Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Any change in a distribution of masses will change how space curves. These changes in curvature send ripples in the form of gravitational waves through space-time, like water waves generated when two boats circle each other.
The motion of distributions of mass that can generate potentially measurable amounts of gravitational waves are all galactic or cosmic in nature. These sources include binary systems, ranging from neutron star binaries to mergers between super-massive black holes, supernovae, spinning neutron stars (pulsars), and the echo of the big bang. A detection of gravitational waves in the LIGO experiment, in which University of Florida is strongly involved in leading roles, confirmed the existence of gravitational waves and opened a new observational window to the universe. In addition to LIGO, University of Florida is involved in the LISA Experiment and other experimental astrophysics experiments including the axions search and other dark matter candidates.