A big event will take place on April 1, and it is not a spectacular hoax. Three giant machines will be activated on that date. The devices can search for ripples in the fabric of the universe, a phenomenon which is also known as gravitational waves.
Two of the facilities are located in the USA as a part of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (also known as LIGO) which can be found in Louisiana and Washington. The third one is located in Italy, and it is known as the Virgo interferometer. The three facilities were upgraded recently, as several components were replaced.
The researchers will use the devices to look for gravitational waves. A suite of high-power lasers and mirrors will facilitate the process. The facilities are arranged in the shape of an L, with the lasers being located in the corners. Upon firing a laser, the ray will bounce off several mirrors before that are sent back and combined.
Scientists plan to research ripples in space, also known as gravitational waves
Gravitational waves will often release faint signals which can alter the path of the laser, signaling the presence of ripples. The recent upgrades have improved the capabilities of LIGO by almost 40%. The twin facilities will be able to observe a more considerable amount of space, which should boost the chances to detect anomalies. The Virgo is also better with its sensitivity being doubled.
Since all of the machines are delivering better performance, scientists hope that they will be able to track down and identify cosmic power events among which we can count the merger of black holes or a clash between neutron stars.
According to one of the researchers, the LIGO-Virgo networks should be able to allow the precise triangulation of the sources of gravitational waves. Some 11 extreme cosmic events were detected since 2011, with ten of them being black hole mergers while one was a neutron star collision. The joint project will allow the researchers to discover more gravitational waves in the following year.
Stacy Richardson is a seasoned journalist with 15 years experience.. She has conducted numerous research studies on media effects including the effects of bullying on adolescents, and “sexy media” effects on sexual behavior. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Stacy covers stories affecting local politics and economy. Contact Stacy here.