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Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) project

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Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) project

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: LIGO- global significance and significance for India, all about gravitational waves.

Context: An international team led by LIGO-Virgo scientists has identified another event of gravitational ripples from a collision of two neutron stars, making it the second time this type of occurrence has ever been observed in gravitational waves.


In August 2017, the first observation of gravitational ripples from a neutron star collision made history for being the first time that both gravitational waves and light were detected from the same cosmic occurrence.

What is LIGO?

It is a massive observatory for detecting cosmic gravitational waves and for carrying out experiments.

The objective is to use gravitational-wave observations in astronomical studies.

The project operates three gravitational-wave (GW) detectors. Two are at Hanford, Washington, north-western US, and one is at Livingston in Louisiana, south-eastern US.

The proposed LIGO India project aims to move one advanced LIGO detector from Hanford to India.

About LIGO- India project:

It is piloted by Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Department of Science and Technology (DST).

The LIGO-India project will be jointly coordinated and executed by three Indian research institutions: the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune and Department of Atomic Energy organisations: Institute for Plasma Research (IPR), Gandhinagar and the Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (RRCAT), Indore.

Benefits for India:

  1. The project will bring unprecedented opportunities for scientists and engineers to dig deeper into the realm of gravitational wave and take global leadership in this new astronomical frontier.
  2. The LIGO-India project will also bring considerable opportunities in cutting-edge technology for the Indian industry which will be engaged in the construction of the eight-km long beam tube at ultra-high vacuum on a levelled terrain.
  3. With its establishment, India will join the global network of gravitational wave detectors.
  4. Establishing an observatory in India also assumes importance because the further the distance between the observatories, the greater will be the accuracy in locating gravity waves.

Sources: the Hindu.