In 2017, the foundersLIGO laser-interferometric gravitational-wave observatory were awarded the Nobel Prize. It was given to them for detecting gravitational waves, which are formed during the collision of two massive space objects like black holes and neutron stars. In the course of the first two cycles of their search, waves formed from the confluence of two black holes and nine more similar events were recorded. Since then, researchers have improved their equipment, and from April 1, 2019, they intend to launch the third search cycle.
In the detection of new gravitational wavesthe LIGO observatory will be assisted by the Virgo detector, located in Italy and owned by the European Gravity Observatory (EGO). In the LIGO project alone, 1300 scientists from hundreds of institutes from different countries participate. Russia is represented by two groups of scientists: one from the Physics Department of the Lomonosov Moscow State University, and the other from the Institute of Applied Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
In recent years, researchers from bothgravitational-wave observatories have greatly improved their detectors. For example, they doubled the power of lasers for interferometers and noticeably improved five of the eight 40-kilogram mirrors of the LIGO detectors. During the first search cycles, quantum noise appeared in the interferometer due to fluctuations in the photon flux — this problem was eliminated using light compression technology.
Thanks to all the improvements, the powerdetectors has been increased by as much as 40%. It is believed that in the third search cycle they will be able to register more gravitational waves by increasing the visible region of outer space.
Gravitational waves have been described by AlbertEinstein in 1916, but in order to fix them, the scientists took almost a century. Their study can shed light on many of the mysteries of space - about whether they are able to tell about the rate of expansion of the universe, read our special material.
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