When they achieve their design sensitivity in the next few years, these observatories will increase the sensitivity of the LIGO instruments by a factor of 10 and provide a 1,000-fold increase in the number of astrophysical candidates for gravitational-wave signals. Scientists expect that these observatories, along with their international partners in Europe and Asia, will enable us to make the first direct detections of gravitational waves.

Predicted by Albert Einstein in 1916 as a consequence of his general theory of relativity, gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space-time produced by violent events in the distant Universe—for example, by the collision of two black holes or by the collapse of massive stars. As they travel to Earth, these ripples in the space-time bring with them information about their violent origins and about the nature of gravity that cannot be obtained by other astronomical tools. Thus, observations of gravitational waves will open a new window to the Universe.


The LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) is a group of some 950 scientists from 16 countries, including India. The LSC network includes the LIGO interferometers and the GEO600 interferometer, a project located near Hannover, Germany, designed and operated by scientists from Germany and United Kingdom. Additionally, a new node of the LIGO network in India may be operational around 2022. The LSC works jointly with the Virgo Collaboration — which designed and constructed the 3-km long Virgo interferometer located in Cascina, Italy — to analyze data from the LIGO, GEO600 and Virgo interferometers.

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