More Gravitational Observatories
Wednesday, 14th April 2010 by Ian Brown
Just when my non-scientific brain had recovered from writing the recent LIGO post, my co-writer Noel kindly informed me that there are two similar gravitational observatories in Europe: GEO 600 in Germany and VIRGO in Italy.
GEO 600 (Wikipedia, official site), located near Sarstedt, works in conjunction with the LIGO program to try to detect gravitational waves. The ‘arms’ are 3km in length (compared to LIGO’s 4km) and the facility is only visible in the low-res image above.
A joint French-Italian project, located near Cascina, VIRGO started its scientific experiments in 2007. It also has ‘arms’ 3km long.
I mentioned that my knowledge of all things astrophysical is somewhat lacking, but science has decided that cosmic strings and alteration of space-time really do require more investigation.
Apparently 4km long buildings simply aren’t long enough, so a pair of space agencies are working to create LISA – a trio of spacecraft that will effectively create a gravitational detector with arms 5 million km in length!
Thanks to Noel and Joel Koerwer.