LIGO gravitational wave detector optics

LIGO gravitational wave detector optics

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Credit: Caltech/MIT/LIGO Lab/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: LIGO gravitational wave detector optics. Test mass (mirror, red) installed in its suspension system for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). The 40-kilogram test mass is suspended below a metal mass by four silica glass fibres. LIGO compares measurements between two detector sites 3000 kilometres apart in Washington and Louisiana, USA. Each site uses laser interferometers to monitor light beams bounced between mirrors, looking for small changes caused by gravitational waves. LIGO has been operating since 2002, with an advanced upgrade (aLIGO) operating since 2015. On 11th February 2016 it was announced that gravitational waves had been detected by LIGO. The signal was detected on 14th September 2015, and was the result of two black holes colliding 1.3 billion years ago. Photographed on 1 January 2014.

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