Advanced LIGO Facility Hits Milestone in Hunt for Gravitational Waves
After seven years of upgrades, the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatories were dedicated on Tuesday at the LIGO Hanford facility near Richland, Washington.
The facilities are located amid the tumbleweeds of southeastern Washington and the pines of southeastern Louisiana. They’re designed to detect the faint signature of gravitational waves given off by supernovas, black hole collisions and other cosmic crashes.
Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity predicts that such waves should exist, but they have never been detected directly. The Advanced LIGO experiment, funded by the National Science Foundation and operated by Caltech and MIT, is expected to change that. It could do for gravitational waves what Europe’s Large Hadron Collider did for the equally elusive Higgs boson.