LIGO: A NEW WAY TO EXPLORE THE UNIVERSE

LIGO is a joint project operated by the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and funded by the National Science Foundation. Its purpose is to detect cosmic gravitational waves and to develop gravitational-wave observations as an astronomical tool.

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) is a facility dedicated to the detection of cosmic gravitational waves and the measurement of these waves for scientific research. It consists of two widely separated installations within the United States, operated in unison as a single observatory. This observatory is available for use by the world scientific community, and is a vital member in a developing global network of gravitational wave observatories.  More..
 

Advanced LIGO: THE NEXT STEP IN GRAVITATIONAL WAVE ASTRONOMY

Gravitational waves offer a remarkable opportunity to see the universe from a new perspective, providing access to astrophysical insights that are available in no other way. The Initial LIGO gravitational wave detectors have completed observations at and beyond their original design sensitivity, and the data have been interpreted to establish new upper limits on gravitational-wave flux. Another data run with the modified Enhanced LIGO detectors is currently underway. The Advanced LIGO project will completely upgrade the three U.S. gravitational wave interferometers, bringing these instruments to sensitivities that should make gravitational wave detections a routine occurrence. The U.S. National Science Foundation leads in financial support for Advanced LIGO. Funding organizations in Germany, the U.K. and Australia also have made significant commitments to the project. Together with Advanced Virgo, Advanced LIGO will bring gravitational wave astronomy to maturity. More...


Throughout human history, we have viewed the cosmos in a similar way. First with our unaided eyes, and then with telescopes, we learned to view a broad variety of radiation -- including infrared light, x-rays, gamma rays and radio waves.

Today we know that only about 10% of the matter in the universe can be observed in this way. What new tools can we use to learn about the majority of matter in the universe?

LIGO is an instrument for sensing the presence of matter, whether shining or dark, in the distant reaches of the cosmos. LIGO does this by detecting the gravitational waves -- ripples in the force of gravity -- created by violent events such as the collisions of stars and the vibrations of black holes.
 
 

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Einstein@Home Use your computer's idle time to search for spinning neutron stars April 11, 2008:   The results of the Einstein@Home search on LIGO S4 data have been officially released...