Observatory for Gravitational Waves Study (Download PDF)


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Environment Ministry has allowed scientists to test suitability of land in Maharashtra’s Hingoli district to host India wing of ambitious Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) project.

Image of LIGO interferometer

Image of LIGO Interferometer

Image of LIGO interferometer

Background on Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory

  • LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) is massive observatory for detecting cosmic gravitational waves & for carrying out experiments.

  • Objective is to use gravitational-wave observations in astronomical studies.

  • Project operates 3 gravitational-wave (GW) detectors. 2 are at Hanford in state of Washington, north-western US, & 1 is at Livingston in Louisiana, south-eastern US.

  • Proposed LIGO India project aims to move one advanced LIGO detector from Hanford to India.

LIGO- India Project

LIGO-India project is piloted by Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) & Department of Science & Technology (DST). It will be jointly coordinated & executed by 3 Indian research institutions:

  • Inter-University Centre for Astronomy & Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune

  • Institute for Plasma Research (IPR), Gandhinagar

  • Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (RRCAT), Indore.

Image of Detail of LIGO

Image of Detail of LIGO

Image of Detail of LIGO

Benefits of LIGO India:

  • Project will bring unprecedented opportunities for scientists & engineers to dig deeper into realm of gravitational wave & take global leadership in this new astronomical frontier.

  • LIGO-India project will bring considerable opportunities in cutting-edge technology for Indian industry which will be engaged in construction of 8-km long beam tube at ultra-high vacuum on levelled terrain.

  • W/its establishment, India will join global network of gravitational wave detectors.

  • Establishing observatory in India assumes importance because further distance b/w observatories, greater will be accuracy in locating gravity waves.

What Are Gravitational Waves

  • Gravitational waves are ripples in pond of space-time.

  • Gravity of large objects warps space & time, or “space-time” as physicists call it, way bowling ball changes shape of trampoline as it rolls around on it.

  • Smaller objects will move differently as result – like marbles spiraling toward bowling-ball-sized dent in trampoline instead of sitting on flat surface.

- Published/Last Modified on: October 8, 2018

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