Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory
The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) is a facility dedicated to the detection of cosmic gravitational waves and the harnessing of these waves for scientific research. It will consist of two widely separated installations within the United States, operated in unison as a single observatory. When it reaches maturity, this observatory will be open for use by the national community and will become part of a planned worldwide network of gravitational-wave observatories.
What Are Gravitational Waves?
Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space and time produced by violent events in the distant universe, for example by the collision of two black holes or by the cores of supernova explosions. Gravitational waves are emitted by accelerating masses much as electromagnetic waves are produced by accelerating charges. These ripples in the space-time fabric travel to Earth, bringing with them information about their violent origins and about the nature of gravity.
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