What is LIGO-India Project?

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What is LIGO-India Project? Blog Image


The Union Cabinet recently approved to set up a gravitational-wave detection facility in Maharashtra that will consist of a detector called the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO).

About LIGO-India Project:

  • What is Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO)?
    • LIGO is the world's most powerful observatory that exploits the physical properties of light and of space itself to detect and understand the origins of gravitational waves.
    • At the moment, there are two such observatories in the US that are separated by a distance of 3000 kilometres that work in tandem to pick up these gravitational waves.
    • Each LIGO detector consists of two arms, each 4 kilometres long, comprising 1.2-meter-wide steel vacuum tubes arranged in an "L" shape and covered by a 10-foot wide, 12-foot tall concrete shelter that protects the tubes from the environment.
  • What is LIGO-India Project?
    • LIGO-India will be an advanced gravitational-wave observatory to be located in Maharashtra, India, as part of a worldwide network.
    • It is envisaged as a collaborative project between a consortium of Indian research institutions and the LIGO Laboratory in the USA, along with its international partners.
    • It will be built by the Department of Atomic Energy and the Department of Science and Technology, with a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Science Foundation, the US, along with several national and international research and academic institutions.
    • LIGO-India is a collaboration between the LIGO Laboratory (operated by Caltech and MIT in the US) and three Institutes in India: the Raja Ramanna Center for Advanced Technology (RRCAT, in Indore), the Institute for Plasma Research (IPR in Ahmedabad), and the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA, in Pune).
    • Significance: The information gathered by LIGO India could be used in the field of gravitation, relativity, astrophysics, cosmology, particle physics, and nuclear physics.

What is a Gravitational Wave?

  • It is an invisible (yet incredibly fast) ripple in space.
  • They travel at the speed of light.
  • These waves squeeze and stretch anything in their path as they pass by.
  • Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves in 1916 in his general theory of relativity.
  • Einstein's mathematics showed that massive accelerating objects (such as neutron stars or black holes orbiting each other) would disrupt space-time in such a way that 'waves' of undulating space-time would propagate in all directions away from the source.


Q1) What is a neutron star?

Neutron stars are formed when a massive star runs out of fuel and collapses. The very central region of the star – the core – collapses, crushing together every proton and electron into a neutron.

Source: Science for all: On the road ahead for the LIGO-India project