Gravitational wave detection is all set to receive a major boost with a new giant facility coming up at Hingoli district of Maharashtra, India in collaboration with the US.
India made it clear early this year that it will be making efforts to further research in gravitational wave detection with an ‘in principle’ approval for a detection facility in India. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) has now been finalised and according to the state government of Maharashtra, Hingoli has been detected as the place where LIGO-India will be setup.
LIGO is the result of collaboration between India and the US in the field of science and technology. LIGO will be a large-scale physics experiment and observatory to detect cosmic gravitational waves in the universe and it will be only the third of its kind in the world.
The LIGO-India will be piloted and overseen by the Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Science and Technology. The LIGO-India shall be coordinated and executed by three leading research institutions – Pune’s Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Indore’s Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (RRCAT) and Gandhinagar’s Institute for Plasma Research (IPR).
The involvement of each of the research institutions will be from different perspectives – IUCAA will provide the scientific teams, data acquisition and scientific data computation, RRCAT will provide its expertise in lasers and laser technology, while IPR will contribute in the high vacuum and cryogenic systems for the prestigious project.
Under the project, an 8 km long beam-tube at ultra-high vacuum on a levelled terrain will be developed at the site. Extracting the information transmitted by the waves to address questions of physics and astronomy would depend on our ability to identify the individual sources of these waves. This requires a network of detectors spread over Earth and LIGO already operates two sites in the US besides collaborating with a similar detector in Virgo, Italy. LIGO-India will enable scientists to locate sources over the entire sky and the ellipses on the sky maps indicate how much more accurately sources can be found with the Indian facility.
According to LIGO-India, gravitational waves are predicted as an essential element of Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity. The strongest sources of gravitational waves are among the enigmatic objects in our universe like black holes, neutron stars, supernova and even the Big Bang.