press releases

Feb 11, 2016 Gravitational Waves Detected 100 Years After Einstein's Prediction

LIGO Opens New Window on the Universe with Observation of Gravitational Waves from Colliding Black Holes

WASHINGTON, DC/Cascina, Italy

For the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, arriving at the earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. This confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein's 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos.

Gravitational waves carry information about their dramatic origins and about the nature of gravity that cannot otherwise be obtained. Physicists have concluded that the detected gravitational waves were produced during the final fraction of a second of the merger of two black holes to produce a single, more massive spinning black hole. This collision of two black holes had been predicted but never observed.

The gravitational waves were detected on September 14, 2015 at 5:51 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (09:51 UTC) by both of the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors, located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, USA. The LIGO Observatories are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and were conceived, built, and are operated by Caltech and MIT. The discovery, accepted for publication in the journal Physical Review Letters, was made by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (which includes the GEO Collaboration and the Australian Consortium for Interferometric Gravitational Astronomy) and the Virgo Collaboration using data from the two LIGO detectors.

Complete Press Release

May 19, 2015 Dedication of Advanced LIGO

The Advanced LIGO Project, a major upgrade that will increase the sensitivity of the LIGO instruments, was officially dedicated in a ceremony held at the LIGO Hanford facility in Richland, Washington. More about Advanced LIGO Dedication at Caltech News.
Aug 24, 2011 New LIGO Executive Director Named

David Reitze has been named executive director of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), designed and operated by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Reitze has also been named a senior research associate at Caltech. More about the appointment of David Reitze as LIGO Executive Director at Caltech News.
Jul 26, 2011 LIGO Partners with the 2012 US Science & Engineering Festival

The LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) is proud to be an Official Partner of the 2nd USA Science & Engineering Festival to be held in the greater Washington DC area in April 2012. Featuring 1500 free, hands-on activities, a Career Pavilion for high-school students and a Book Fair featuring over 30 science authors, the two-day Expo will entertain teens, children and their families, and anyone with a curious mind who is looking for a weekend of fun and discovery. MOre about the 2012 US Science & Engineering Festival.
May 24, 2010 Astronomy's New Messengers Arrive in Manhattan (2010 World Science Festival)

"Astronomy's New Messengers: Listening to the Universe with Gravitational Waves", courtesy of the National Science Foundation and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and presented as part of the World Science Festival, will be on view June 2- 6 with panel discussions taking place June 3rd and 4th. Throughout the Festival this interpretive exhibition will offer an up-close look at the work process of a dynamic group of over 800 physicists and astronomers worldwide who have joined together in the search for gravitational waves from the most violent astrophysical events in the Universe. More about Astronomy's New Messengers.
Aug 19, 2009 LIGO Listens for Gravitational Echoes of the Birth of the Universe

An investigation by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration has significantly advanced our understanding of the early evolution of the universe. More about gravitational wave background of early Universe at Caltech News.
Jun 2, 2008 LIGO Observations Probe the Dynamics of the Crab Pulsar

The search for gravitational waves has revealed new information about the core of one of the most famous objects in the sky: the Crab Pulsar in the Crab Nebula. An analysis by the international LIGO Scientific Collaboration to be submitted to Astrophysical Journal Letters has shown that no more than 4 percent of the energy loss of the pulsar is caused by the emission of gravitational waves. More on LIGO probes of the Crab Pulsar at Caltech News.
Apr 1, 2008 Advanced LIGO Project Funded by National Science Foundation

The Advanced LIGO Project, an upgrade in sensitivity for LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatories), was approved by the National Science Board in its meeting on March 27. The National Science Foundation will fund the $205.12 million, seven-year project, starting with $32.75 million in 2008. This major upgrade will increase the sensitivity of the LIGO instruments by a factor of 10, giving a one thousand-fold increase in the number of astrophysical candidates for gravitational wave signals. More about NSF funding of Advanced LIGO
Jan 2, 2008 LIGO Sheds Light on Cosmic Event

An analysis by the international LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) Scientific Collaboration has excluded one previously leading explanation for the origin of an intense gamma-ray burst that occurred last winter. Gamma-ray bursts are among the most violent and energetic events in the universe, and scientists have only recently begun to understand their origins. More about LIGO's analysis of the M31 Gamma-ray burst


A sky map showing location of the detection signal.

A SkyMap map showing location of the GW150914 detection signal. Image: Caltech/R. Hurt.

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