LIGO

Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave ObservatoryAdvanced LIGOLaser Interferometer Gravitational Wave ObservatoryLaser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)LIGO detectorLIGO Hanford ObservatoryLIGO Livingston ObservatoryAdLIGOAdvanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave ObservatoryAdvanced LIGO team
The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) is a large-scale physics experiment and observatory to detect cosmic gravitational waves and to develop gravitational-wave observations as an astronomical tool.wikipedia
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LIGO Scientific Collaboration

LIGOLIGO CollaborationLIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration
The detection of gravitational waves was reported in 2016 by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) and the Virgo Collaboration with the international participation of scientists from several universities and research institutions.
LSC members have access to the US-based Advanced LIGO detectors in Hanford, Washington and in Livingston, Louisiana, as well as the GEO 600 detector in Sarstedt, Germany.

Einstein@Home

Scientists involved in the project and the analysis of the data for gravitational-wave astronomy are organized by the LSC, which includes more than 1000 scientists worldwide, as well as 440,000 active Einstein@Home users.
Einstein@Home is a volunteer distributed computing project that searches for signals from rotating neutron stars in data from the LIGO gravitational-wave detectors, from large radio telescopes, and from the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.

Virgo interferometer

VirgoAdvanced VIRGOVirgo Collaboration
The detection of gravitational waves was reported in 2016 by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) and the Virgo Collaboration with the international participation of scientists from several universities and research institutions. On 11 February 2016, the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaboration published a paper about the detection of gravitational waves, from a signal detected at 09.51 UTC on 14 September 2015 of two ~30 solar mass black holes merging about 1.3 billion light-years from Earth.
Other interferometers similar to Virgo have the same goal of detecting gravitational waves, including the two LIGO interferometers in the United States (at the Hanford Site and in Livingston, Louisiana).

List of gravitational wave observations

gravitational wave eventscollisiondetected
As of December 2018, LIGO has made eleven detections of gravitational waves, of which ten are from binary black hole mergers.
Direct observation of gravitational waves, which commenced with the detection of an event by LIGO in 2015, constitutes part of gravitational wave astronomy.

GW170817

GRB 170817AAT 2017gfoSSS17a
The other event was the first detection of a collision of two neutron stars, on 17 August 2017 which simultaneously produced optical signals detectable by conventional telescopes.
GW 170817 was a gravitational wave (GW) signal observed by the LIGO and Virgo detectors on 17 August 2017, originating from the shell elliptical galaxy NGC 4993.

Rainer Weiss

Rai WeissDr. Rainer WeissReiner Weiss
In 2017, the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne and Barry C. Barish "for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves." Prototype interferometric gravitational wave detectors (interferometers) were built in the late 1960s by Robert L. Forward and colleagues at Hughes Research Laboratories (with mirrors mounted on a vibration isolated plate rather than free swinging), and in the 1970s (with free swinging mirrors between which light bounced many times) by Weiss at MIT, and then by Heinz Billing and colleagues in Garching Germany, and then by Ronald Drever, James Hough and colleagues in Glasgow, Scotland. Starting in the 1960s, American scientists including Joseph Weber, as well as Soviet scientists Mikhail Gertsenshtein and Vladislav Pustovoit, conceived of basic ideas and prototypes of laser interferometry, and in 1967 Rainer Weiss of MIT published an analysis of interferometer use and initiated the construction of a prototype with military funding, but it was terminated before it could become operational.
He is best known for inventing the laser interferometric technique which is the basic operation of LIGO.

Gravitational-wave astronomy

gravitational wave astronomygravitational wave observationfirst direct gravitational wave observation
Scientists involved in the project and the analysis of the data for gravitational-wave astronomy are organized by the LSC, which includes more than 1000 scientists worldwide, as well as 440,000 active Einstein@Home users.
On 11 February 2016 it was announced that the LIGO collaboration had directly observed gravitational waves for the first time in September 2015.

Kip Thorne

Kip S. ThorneKip Stephen ThorneThorne, Kip
In 2017, the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne and Barry C. Barish "for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves."
These "signatures" are of great relevance to LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory), a multi-institution gravitational wave experiment for which Thorne has been a leading proponent – in 1984, he cofounded the LIGO Project (the largest project ever funded by the NSF ) to discern and measure any fluctuations between two or more 'static' points; such fluctuations would be evidence of gravitational waves, as calculations describe.

Binary black hole

pairblack hole mergerbinary supermassive black hole
As of December 2018, LIGO has made eleven detections of gravitational waves, of which ten are from binary black hole mergers.
The existence of stellar-mass binary black holes (and gravitational waves themselves) were finally confirmed when LIGO detected GW150914 (detected September 2015, announced February 2016), a distinctive gravitational wave signature of two merging stellar-mass black holes of around 30 solar masses each, occurring about 1.3 billion light years away.

Ronald Drever

Ronald W.P. DreverRonald W. P. Drever
Prototype interferometric gravitational wave detectors (interferometers) were built in the late 1960s by Robert L. Forward and colleagues at Hughes Research Laboratories (with mirrors mounted on a vibration isolated plate rather than free swinging), and in the 1970s (with free swinging mirrors between which light bounced many times) by Weiss at MIT, and then by Heinz Billing and colleagues in Garching Germany, and then by Ronald Drever, James Hough and colleagues in Glasgow, Scotland.
He was a professor emeritus at the California Institute of Technology, co-founded the LIGO project, and was a co-inventor of the Pound–Drever–Hall technique for laser stabilisation, as well as the Hughes–Drever experiment.

California Institute of Technology

CaltechCalifornia Institute of Technology (Caltech)Cal Tech
The initial LIGO observatories were funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and were conceived, built and are operated by Caltech and MIT.
In addition to managing JPL, Caltech also operates the Palomar Observatory in San Diego County, the Owens Valley Radio Observatory in Bishop, California, the Submillimeter Observatory and W. M. Keck Observatory at the Mauna Kea Observatory, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory at Livingston, Louisiana and Richland, Washington, and Kerckhoff Marine Laboratory in Corona del Mar, California.

Heinz Billing

Prototype interferometric gravitational wave detectors (interferometers) were built in the late 1960s by Robert L. Forward and colleagues at Hughes Research Laboratories (with mirrors mounted on a vibration isolated plate rather than free swinging), and in the 1970s (with free swinging mirrors between which light bounced many times) by Weiss at MIT, and then by Heinz Billing and colleagues in Garching Germany, and then by Ronald Drever, James Hough and colleagues in Glasgow, Scotland.
Advanced LIGO detected the third gravitational wave event GW170104 on the same day.

Barry Barish

Barry C. BarishBarry Barrish
In 2017, the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne and Barry C. Barish "for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves."
In 2017, Barish was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics along with Rainer Weiss and Kip Thorne "for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves".

James Hough

Prototype interferometric gravitational wave detectors (interferometers) were built in the late 1960s by Robert L. Forward and colleagues at Hughes Research Laboratories (with mirrors mounted on a vibration isolated plate rather than free swinging), and in the 1970s (with free swinging mirrors between which light bounced many times) by Weiss at MIT, and then by Heinz Billing and colleagues in Garching Germany, and then by Ronald Drever, James Hough and colleagues in Glasgow, Scotland.

General relativity

general theory of relativitygeneral relativity theoryrelativity
These waves were first predicted by Einstein's general theory of relativity in 1916, when the technology necessary for their detection did not yet exist.
General relativity also predicts the existence of gravitational waves, which have since been observed directly by the physics collaboration LIGO.

GW151226

second detectionsecond observation of gravitational wavessecond signal
On 16 June 2016 LIGO announced a second signal was detected from the merging of two black holes with 14.2 and 7.5 times the mass of the Sun.
GW151226 was a gravitational wave signal detected by the LIGO observatory on 25 December 2015 local time (26 Dec 2015 UTC).

Gravitational wave

gravitational wavesgravitational radiationgravitational wave radiation
The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) is a large-scale physics experiment and observatory to detect cosmic gravitational waves and to develop gravitational-wave observations as an astronomical tool.
On 11 February 2016, the LIGO and Virgo Scientific Collaboration announced they had made the first direct observation of gravitational waves.

David Reitze

Current executive director David Reitze announced the findings at a media event in Washington D.C., while executive director emeritus Barry Barish presented the first scientific paper of the findings at CERN to the physics community.
David Reitze (born January 6, 1961 in Washington, Pennsylvania) is an American laser physicist who is Professor of Physics at the University of Florida and served as the scientific spokesman of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) experiment in 2007-2011.

Livingston, Louisiana

LivingstonCity of LivingstonLivingston, LA
LIGO operates two gravitational wave observatories in unison: the LIGO Livingston Observatory (30.56289°N, -90.77424°W) in Livingston, Louisiana, and the LIGO Hanford Observatory, on the DOE Hanford Site (46.45514°N, -119.40766°W), located near Richland, Washington.
Livingston hosts one of the two LIGO gravitational wave detector sites, the other one being located in Hanford, Washington.

Science and Technology Facilities Council

STFCScience and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)Science & Technology Facilities Council
The Advanced LIGO Project to enhance the original LIGO detectors began in 2008 and continues to be supported by the NSF, with important contributions from the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council, the Max Planck Society of Germany, and the Australian Research Council.

Hanford Site

Hanford Nuclear ReservationHanfordHanford nuclear site
LIGO operates two gravitational wave observatories in unison: the LIGO Livingston Observatory (30.56289°N, -90.77424°W) in Livingston, Louisiana, and the LIGO Hanford Observatory, on the DOE Hanford Site (46.45514°N, -119.40766°W), located near Richland, Washington.
Besides the cleanup project, Hanford also hosts a commercial nuclear power plant, the Columbia Generating Station, and various centers for scientific research and development, such as the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the LIGO Hanford Observatory.

Albert Einstein

EinsteinEinsteinianA. Einstein
The LIGO concept built upon early work by many scientists to test a component of Albert Einstein's theory of relativity, the existence of gravitational waves.
Einstein's prediction was confirmed on 11 February 2016, when researchers at LIGO published the first observation of gravitational waves, detected on Earth on 14 September 2015, exactly one hundred years after the prediction.

Joseph Weber

gravitational wavesLieutenant Commander Joseph Weber, USN
Starting in the 1960s, American scientists including Joseph Weber, as well as Soviet scientists Mikhail Gertsenshtein and Vladislav Pustovoit, conceived of basic ideas and prototypes of laser interferometry, and in 1967 Rainer Weiss of MIT published an analysis of interferometer use and initiated the construction of a prototype with military funding, but it was terminated before it could become operational.
On February 11, 2016, the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaboration teams held a press conference to announce that they had directly detected gravitational waves from a pair of black holes merging, on Rosh Hashanah 2015, (Weber's yahrtzeit), using the Advanced LIGO detectors.

Michelson interferometer

Michelsonlaser interferometerlaser interferometers
The primary interferometer consists of two beam lines of 4 km length which form a power-recycled Michelson interferometer with Gires–Tournois etalon arms.
In 2015, another application of the Michelson interferometer, LIGO, made the first direct observation of gravitational waves.

First observation of gravitational waves

GW150914direct detection of gravitational wavesdirectly detected
On 11 February 2016, the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaboration published a paper about the detection of gravitational waves, from a signal detected at 09.51 UTC on 14 September 2015 of two ~30 solar mass black holes merging about 1.3 billion light-years from Earth.
The first direct observation of gravitational waves was made on 14 September 2015 and was announced by the LIGO and Virgo collaborations on 11 February 2016.