CALTECH / MIT / LIGO LAB / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CALTECH / MIT / LIGO LAB / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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LIGO gravitational wave detector. Aerial photograph of the Hanford detector site for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). LIGO compares measurements between two detector sites 3000 kilometres apart, one near Hanford, Washington, USA, and the other near Livingston, Louisiana, USA. Each site is an L-shaped ultra-high vacuum system, four kilometres long on each side. Laser interferometers are used to look 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 2 May 2008.
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