It has been three years since the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) shut down, starting a long hiatus from searching the universe for gravitational waves. Now, though, the LIGO gravitational wave detector is finally back up and running again and ready to search for ripples in spacetime.
Gravitational waves are the hallmark signs of colliding black holes, as well as the leftover effects from other cosmic cataclysms, Nature explains. LIGO was created to detect ripples in spacetime. It is vital for detecting these forces and learning about them. LIGO consists of two huge detectors that are both operational now and search the universe.
The first LIGO detector can be found in Hanford, Washington, while the second is located in Livingston, Louisiana. The upgrades, which cost millions of dollars, have improved the sensitivity of both detectors. The improvements to the facility should allow the detectors to pick up signals of colliding black holes every two to three days. It could detect collisions only once or twice a week.
A third detector was to join the LIGO detectors located in the United States, near Pisa. However, that detector wasn’t ready to go operational, though they are hoping to have it up and running by the fall. All of these detectors are designed to find and detect black-hole mergings within our universe.
Scientists want to learn more about these cosmic collisions because of the potential they have to change everything about the galaxies that they are contained within. Not only that, but some scientists believe that some black holes are kinks in the fabric of spacetime itself, and learning more about those kinks can only benefit our understanding of the universe’s very foundation.
The upgrades to LIGO detectors and others should allow them to gather more detailed and important information on the spiraling object that produces gravitational wave in our universe. These include information such as the way each object spins and how it revolves around one another. Perhaps these detectors will even help us see into black holes one day.
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