LIGO Gets An Upgrade

Physicists are hoping that a $205 million upgrade will let LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatories) accomplish its purpose: to detect gravitational waves from neutron stars and black holes.

"With the limited LIGO range at time, it wasn't guaranteed detection," said Albert Lazzarini, deputy director of LIGO at the California Institute of Technology. "With Advanced LIGO, it'd be very surprising from a relativity perspective if we didn't observe anything."


(Gravitational wave model)

Here's how LIGO works:

LIGO tries to detect gravitational waves using highly precise lasers to measure the time it takes light to travel between mirrors. Two sets of facing mirrors sit at a 90 degree angle, forming something like an "L" shape that meets at a corner. A laser beam is shot through an "L" shaped splitter at the corner, which splits the beam into two beams that strike each set of mirrors.

The laser interferometer measures how long the laser light bounces back and forth between the mirrors on the "L" legs before returning to a light detector at the "L" corner. They should theoretically return to the light detector at the same time because the mirror legs are identical distances unless a passing gravitational wave distorts the local space-time fabric and changes the distance.

In the 1972 novel Two Planets, Kurd Lasswitz writes about a kind of viewer that used gravitational waves to see details at astronomical distances.

It was difficult to determine the exact direction in which the axis of the cone of gravitational beams should be positioned. This cone of beams had to be transmitted to overtake the light that was reflected from the planet at the time of the event and which was now on its way through space. This light had to be brought back again. After the returning waves of gravitation had been transferred into light again and after they had passed the optical relay, a picture of the searched for area could finally be projected...
(Read more about Gravitational Wave Viewer)

Via Scientists Now Expect to Find Gravitational Waves ; thanks to Walt Bradley for writing in with the story and the sf quote.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/11/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

Russian Space Garden
'We saw the gardens, flooded with artificial sunlight...' - Harley S. Aldinger, 1932.

Make Space Tools On The Spot (Like Moties)
'A moment ago it was squeezing silver toothpaste in a ribbon...' - Niven and Pournelle, 1974.

Bacteria Behave Differently In Space
'The Republic struggled to control its Sours...' - Bruce Sterling, 1985.

SpaceX Spacesuit Design Transmitted By Elon Musk
Welcome, SpaceX, to the club of space suit imaginers and makers.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Dubai Scorpion Police Hoverbike Ready To Pull Young Kirk Over
'Is there a problem, officer?'

HEXA Robotic Help For Plants
Then some unknown race had chanced upon the dreamers and decided to "help them out."

Korean Tesla Model S Video 'Excelsior' Is Indeed Our Motto
'Improving man by bringing him close to Nature, while they combine the sensations of coasting with the interest of seeing the country well...'

DIY Robot Shoots You In The Face
'...there were automatic guns that fired ligamine darts.'

A Bayesian Approach to Safe Imitation Learning For AIs and Robots
Um, how about that pension for the humans who serve as the models for robot behavior?

Qoobo Headless Robotic Therapy Cat Was Anne McCaffrey's Idea
'...used as surrogates in intense dependency cases.'

Autonomous Cars Talk To Each Other At MCity
'My cars talk to one another.'

PUFFER Robots - From Philip K DIck's Second Variety?
'Across the ground something small and metallic came, flashing in the dull sunlight of midday.'

Russian Space Garden
'We saw the gardens, flooded with artificial sunlight...'

Targeted Neuroplasticity Training For 'Downloading Skills'
'I know kung-fu.'

U of M's MCity To Feature Asimov's Automatobuses
Should you turn autonomous buses off?

Crazyflie Drone Swarm Technology
'...Programmed to hang in space in a hexagonal grid pattern.'

Our GodBot, Who Art In Cyberspace
Vaal hungers! We must serve him.

easyJet Short-Haul Electric Jets
Have a little faith, will you? They're working on it.

Meet Assist-e Honda's Self-Balancing Motorcycle
'He had never ridden any motorized device that lacked onboard steering and balance systems...'

Kalashnikov's One-Seater Hovercraft
Not for windy days.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.