The LIGO detectors are kilometer-scale antennas aiming to detect GWs — ripples in space-time produced by violent astrophysical phenomena such as the merger of black holes. Once detected, GWs will open up a new and unique observational window to the universe. In order to localize the GW sources in the sky, the observatories in USA, Europe and Japan will need to function as a single network. The accuracy of the source localization is proportional to the ‘baseline’ of the network (distance between different observatories). Adding a new detector in India, geographically well separated from the three existing detectors and away from the plane determined by them, will boost the detection confidence of the first detections and will improve the sky coverage, source localization accuracies and event rates.

LIGO-India project is envisaged as an international collaboration between the LIGO Laboratory in the USA (along with its international partners in Germnay, UK and Australia) and three lead institutions in the IndIGO consortium: Institute of Plasma Research (IPR), Gandhinagar, Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune and Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (RRCAT), Indore. LIGO lab would provide the complete design and all the key detector components. Indian scientists would provide the infrastructure to install the detector at a suitable site in India and would be responsible for commissioning it. The observatory would be operated jointly by IndIGO and the LIGO-Lab and would form a single network along with the LIGO detectors in USA and Virgo in Italy.