This is to tie in with a previous question >The Sun's Orbit - Is it What We Think?

Are gravitational waves cumulative? and if so how does this affect our galaxy and other astronomical bodies? Now I go to 'The Visualisation of Space-time Warping' Video, and imagine that the more 'Weight/Planets' the higher the gravitational force, Right?


For example:

  • Is the gravitational 'pull' of our solar system greater than that of our star alone?

For instance, would a wondering planet be more likely to come into our solar system rather than, a lone star of equal size and gravitational proportions to ours?


Does the increase of gravitational waves in the area somehow reduce the gravitational effect on a passing body?

  • $\begingroup$ Define cumulative. $\endgroup$
    – Qmechanic
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 8:09
  • $\begingroup$ The more planets - The more gravity. $\endgroup$
    – QuantuM
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 8:17
  • $\begingroup$ Would a larger solar system have a greater gravitational attractiveness $\endgroup$
    – QuantuM
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 8:18
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ This seems confused. Gravity and gravitational waves are different things. $\endgroup$
    – ProfRob
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 8:37
  • $\begingroup$ Regarding only gravity but not gravitational waves: In Newtonian gravity there exists principle of superposition, that is, all the forces from different sources should be added. But now, force is a vector quantity and while adding, their direction also matters. If a body is pulled gravitationally from opposite directions the net force of attraction can be zero in between. More sources don't automatically mean more attraction, one has to take care of the directions of attraction also. The quantity that is added seamlessly is the gravitational potential energy. $\endgroup$
    – VacuuM
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 8:55

1 Answer 1


Classical gravity can be treated as a vector field. It adds in a "vectorial" way.

Gravitational potential is a scalar and can just be summed from multiple sources.The gravitational field is (minus) the gradient of the gravitational potential.

Gravitational waves are something completely different.

  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I've been told :/ sorry for the confusion. more research is required (for me to fully understand i think :) ) $\endgroup$
    – QuantuM
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 9:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.