India okays its own LIGO detector

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The Indian government today approved construction of LIGO-India, using some duplicate components already available from the American LIGO gravitational wave detector.

“We have built an exact copy of that instrument that can be used in the LIGO-India Observatory,” says David Shoemaker, leader of the Advanced LIGO Project and director of the MIT LIGO Lab, “ensuring that the new detector can both quickly come up to speed and match the U.S. detector performance.” LIGO will provide Indian researchers with the components and training to build and run the new Advanced LIGO detector, which will then be operated by the Indian team.

What this new instrument will accomplish is to give astronomers more information when a gravitational wave rolls past the Earth. By having detectors half a world apart, they will be able to better triangulate the direction the wave came from, which in turn will help astronomers eventually pinpoint its source event.


  • Wodun

    We really are in a space race and people who denegrate that term because they think it means war, hostility, or just don’t like competition should probably research athletics and sportsmanship.

  • Max

    I personally am skeptical of gravitational waves. This Independent confirmation is necessary to keep science honest.
    A friend of mine worked for JPL creating and designing instrumentation. They were testing a more sensitive gravity detector that seemed to have issues. After several recalibrations, they could not get it to point at the center mass of the sun. They realized that it was pointing where the sun would be in the sky in a few minutes, that gravity was occurring in real time and not at the speed of light. Like our magnetic event detectors that will pick up a solar X class flare before we see the light from the sun, we experience solar gravity in the moment.
    Could you imagine a solar system staying together with gravity delay depending on your distance from the sun? Or the astrological mechanics of our position in the galaxy if there was a time delay in relation to where the center of the galaxy was 50,000 years ago?
    If a gravity wave occurred, then it just happened now, not billions of years ago.
    I believe that just as space and time are closely related so is gravity and mass. I was taught that “matter can neither be created or destroyed, only its form could change.” When mass turns into energy, gravity of that mass is lost and is part of the equation of the energy created. (E equals MC squared) A negative gravity wave perhaps, but definitely not the creation of “new matter” which could be detected(?) as a wave of gravity.
    Two black holes colliding does not create new matter. And is only relevant to a frame of reference inside the event horizon. Outside the time space distortion such a collision would occur incredibly slow possibly taking hundreds of billions of years before meeting assuming that one or both is slowing down somehow due to a conversion not into energy but into gravity.
    That’s science fiction to me, even if energy could escape the event horizon it would do so at a time reference so slow that it would be difficult to detect at one photon per second. I cannot imagine how long the wavelength of that photon would be…
    On the other hand, there is much we do not know including why there is a tidal bulge opposite of the New Moon facing away from gravity…
    My hypothesis (A guess) would be that the earth increases gravity at 90° to an outside gravity influence. (Like squeezing a water balloon) (when electricity passes through a wire, it creates a magnetic field at 90°) If a relationship can be established, this means that gravity can be influenced and manipulated because it occurs in nature. Perhaps measurements of barometric pressure every six hours with the tides?
    As for 2 beach balls floating on an ocean wave, isn’t it more consistent with two ping-pong balls floating in a bottle floating on the ocean wave? Setting the experiment at the Lagrange points is a nice start, but if gravity is felt in real time… being at 30 EU’s will not be far enough apart to detect a difference.
    Following the law of unintended consequences, it may detect something else that we weren’t looking for… Like any dark mass (or dark matter) that happens to pass within range of the detector. I do hope they are successful in receiving funding from gullible congressmen. This might be the excuse we need to put a Multi functional observation platform in space many times greater than the Hubble telescope…

  • Wayne

    Having trouble following your logic on this.

    Nothing travels faster than the speed of light, and gravity is not the exception.

    You opined a question: “Could you imagine a solar system staying together with gravity delay depending on your distance from the sun? ”
    Yes, I can. The gravitational force between the Sun & Earth is a continuous effect, not a discrete effect. If the Sun magically vanished, we would see the absence of sunlight in about 8 minutes, we would also have the exact same time elapse before we could “feel” the absence of the Sun’s mass.
    “Space” is a combination of X, Y, and Z, coordinates, with a time metric.
    Lagrange points are, be definition, area’s where the gravity of the Sun & Earth are in equilibrium. There isn’t a lack-of-gravity at these points, there is rather equal but opposite forces in play due to the position a probe would inhabit.

  • Wayne

    -I’m really intrigued by your post & I’m trying to figure out your logic. I think you are reasoning from a foundation of facts which aren’t exactly as I understand them to be.

    You wrote in part– “When mass turns into energy, gravity of that mass is lost and is part of the equation of the energy created.”
    –That would be a violation of the principle of Conservation. Nothing gets “lost” in the Universe, but is rather converted from one form to another. Angular momentum & mass are conserved quantities. The sum of the parts is always identical to the whole.

    I would encourage you to check out Dr. Leonard Susskind from Stanford— there are 130+ complete Physics lectures on-line at YouTube, taken directly from his classes. The math is pretty heavy (personally not my thing) but watch them for the Concepts. He starts with Classical Mechanics and goes all the way up to cutting edge Cosmology. They will give you an excellent foundation from which to evaluate current Physics thinking & discoveries, such as gravitational waves.
    (The Feynman Messenger Lectures are also pretty good & with minimal Math!)
    And– keep reading Behind the Black! Mr. Z is a top notch Science author & commentator.

  • PeterF

    Once the Indian LIGO is operational, the separation should be more than great enough so that if the next event is recorded at precisely the same time at both locations, it would prove that gravity is instantaneous and does not travel at the speed of light limit. (unless the event just happened to occur when both detectors were equidistant from the source during Earth’s rotation.)
    Construction of a third and fourth detector in a three dimensional tetrahedral separated by the diameter of the earth would be useful.
    Perhaps this would provide data that could result in a unified field theory.

  • Gravitational waves are not instantaneous. The event that was recorded by LIGO in September was seen at different times in the two detectors, though only milliseconds apart. The reason scientists want to spread the detectors is to increase the time difference so they can better triangular the direction from which wave comes.

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