Redshift Fluctuations arising from Gravitational Waves


IT is well known that when light travels through a gravitational field, the field acts like a refracting medium. Even though space may be empty in the sense that the components of the Ricci tensor vanish, we still expect an effect on the propagation of light as suggested by Maxwell's equations where Fμv is the electromagnetic field tensor and Rμvαβ is the Riemann–Christoffel curvature tensor1. If the space between a source of photons and an observer is filled with gravitational radiation, we then expect fluctuations in the appearance of the source analogous to the twinkling of starlight as seen through the Earth's atmosphere. Changes in the apparent luminosity and position of a source due to gravitational waves have been examined in the geometrical optics limit by Zipoy2. Here I shall concern myself with fluctuations in the redshift.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Tolman, R. C., Relativity, Thermodynamics and Cosmology, 268 (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1934).

  2. 2

    Zipoy, D. N., Phys. Rev., 142, 825 (1966).

  3. 3

    Landau, L. D., and Lifshitz, E. M., The Classical Theory of Fields, 365 (Addison-Wesley, Reading, Mass., 1965).

  4. 4

    Weber, J., Phys. Rev. Lett., 22, 1320 (1969).

  5. 5

    Weber, J., Phys. Rev. Lett., 24, 276 (1970).

Download references

Author information



Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

KAUFMANN, W. Redshift Fluctuations arising from Gravitational Waves. Nature 227, 157–158 (1970).

Download citation

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.