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LIGO Starring in a New Documentary

15 April 2014 - A new documentary by filmmaker Kai Staats shows the science and people behind LIGO. Watch the 22-minute movie, called "LIGO, A Passion for Understanding."

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LSC Congratulates BICEP2 Colleagues

18 March 2014 - The BICEP2 result, if confirmed, is a landmark discovery in cosmology, allowing us for the first time to peer back almost to the moment of the Big Bang through the observation of the imprint of primordial gravitational waves on the cosmic microwave background. The LIGO Scientific Collaboration congratulates our BICEP colleagues on their accomplishment and will further follow discoveries and implications of these observations with great interest.

This result highlights the unique role that gravitational wave observations will play in understanding the universe in the coming years, demonstrating the possibility to study the earliest time in the evolution of the Universe, and the physics of the correspondingly high energies, using gravitational waves. Direct measurements of the cosmological gravitational waves at a variety of frequencies will be necessary to fully understand the physics of inflation. Furthermore, when Advanced LIGO gravitational-wave detector comes online in the second half of this decade, we anticipate it will directly measure gravitational waves created by the most violent compact astrophysical sources in the universe -- colliding neutron stars and black holes as well as supernovae -- opening an entirely new window onto the universe through gravitational-wave astronomy.

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"Blind Injection" Stress-Tests LIGO and VIRGO's Search for Gravitational Waves!

The LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration completed an end-to-end system test of their detection capabilities at their recent joint collaboration meeting in Arcadia, CA. Analysis of data from LIGO and Virgo's most recent observation run revealed evidence of the elusive signal from a neutron star spiraling into a black hole. The collaboration knew that the "detection" could be a "blind injection" -- a fake signal added to the data without telling the analysts, to test the detector and analysis. Nonetheless, the collaboration proceeded under the assumption that the signal was real, and wrote and approved a scientific paper reporting the ground-breaking discovery. A few moments later, according to plan, it was revealed that the signal was indeed a blind injection.

While the scientists were disappointed that the discovery was not real, the success of the analysis was a compelling demonstration of the collaboration's readiness to detect gravitational waves. LIGO and Virgo scientists are looking forward to observations with the advanced detectors which are expected to contain many real signals from the distant reaches of the universe.

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The NASA Swift Observatory

An artist's rendition of the Swift Satellite

The NASA Swift observatory is a low earth orbit satellite whose primary mission is to investigate gamma ray bursts. Swift is working with LIGO and Virgo performing target of opportunity observations using data from the LIGO and Virgo instruments to search for possible gravitational wave sources.