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A Gravitational Waves Explanation Even a Five Year Old Can Grasp

It has stick figures!

Earlier this year, scientists detected gravitational waves for the first time in history and nerds around the globe cried with joy. (Seriously, I got a little choked up that day and I'm not even the biggest astro-geek at Motherboard.)

The phenomenon, first predicted by Albert Einstein a century ago, was widely accepted but had never actually been detected before. It was a major milestone that now allows astrophysicists to "hear" cosmic events like the merger of two black holes, and basically proves Einstein's general theory of relativity.

But if February 11, 2016 was the first time you had ever heard gravitational waves, you might still be scratching your head over what the big deal is. Maybe you read a few news articles and an ELI5 on Reddit that was still pretty dense and gave up. Not to fear, we've found the most straight-forward explanation for gravitational waves on the internet. An actual five-year-old could understand this. It even comes with stick figure diagrams.

Now the next time scientists detect the waves—and they're going to be doing so with more and more regularity—you'll actually understand what the hell they're talking about.