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Advanced LIGO gets the green light.

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MartinW View Drop Down
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    Posted: 21 May 2015 at 9:46am
One of the great physics experiments of our age looks ready to begin its quest.

Quote Scientists have held a dedication ceremony to inaugurate the Advanced Ligo facilities in the US.

This pair of widely separated laboratories will be hunting for gravitational waves.

These ripples in the fabric of space-time are predicted to result from extreme cosmic events, such as the merger of black holes and the explosive demise of giant stars.

Confirmation of the waves' existence should open up a new paradigm in astronomy.

It is one that would no longer depend on traditional light telescopes to observe and understand phenomena on the sky.

"Advanced Ligo represents a critically important step forward in our continuing effort to understand the extraordinary mysteries of our Universe," said France Córdova, the director of the US National Science Foundation.

"It gives scientists a highly sophisticated instrument for detecting gravitational waves, which we believe carry with them information about their dynamic origins and about the nature of gravity that cannot be obtained by conventional astronomical tools."

Although based in the American states of Washington and Louisiana, and led by the MIT and Caltech institutions, Advanced Ligo is very much an international project.

It has drawn on the expertise of 15 other nations, with particularly significant contributions coming from Germany, the UK and Australia.

Tuesday's dedication ceremony at the Hanford lab in the US northwest paves the way for the experiment to begin its search in earnest towards the end of the year.

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