MATT HEINTZE / CALTECH / MIT / LIGO LAB / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MATT HEINTZE / CALTECH / MIT / LIGO LAB / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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LIGO gravitational wave detector optics. Researcher inspecting the optics (mirror, yellow) of part of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). He is using a light to check for contaminants that would interfere with the measurements. LIGO compares measurements between two detector sites 3000 kilometres apart. 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 at the LIGO Livingston site, Louisiana, USA, on 14 December 2015.
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