Gravitational Observatory LIGO and VIRGO have started a joint observation

© LIGO/Caltech/MIT/Sonoma State (Aurore Simonnet)So the artist has imagined black holes 3 billion light years from EarthGravitational Observatory LIGO and VIRGO have started a joint observation© LIGO/Caltech/MIT/Sonoma State (Aurore Simonnet)

Gravitational Observatory LIGO and VIRGO have started the first joint monitoring of «the gravitational Universe», the results of which may allow scientists for the first time to locate the source of these fluctuations of space-time, the press service of the National Institute of nuclear physics of Italy.

«Today we had the first network of three gravitational detectors of the current generation, able to find sources of gravitational waves. This is a huge achievement for us and the best is yet to come – and the sensitivity of LIGO and VIRGO will grow in the future, which will give us the opportunity to fully explore the Universe,» said Giovanni Losurdo (Giovanni Losurdo), scientific Director of the Advanced VIRGO project.

The gravitational wave detector LIGO has been built in 2002 on projects and plans that have been developed by a Kip Thorne, Rainer Weiss and Ronald Drever in the late 80’s of the last century. In the first stage of its work, which lasted 8 years, LIGO has failed to detect the «Einstein» fluctuations in space-time, after which the detector was disabled and the next 4 years, scientists have spent on upgrading it and increasing sensitivity.

These efforts were justified – in September 2015, in fact, immediately after switching on the upgraded LIGO, scientists detected a burst of gravitational waves generated by merging black holes with total mass in 53 of the Sun. Subsequently, LIGO has recorded three more burst of gravitational waves, only one of which was officially recognized by the scientific community.

Scientists do not yet know where exactly was located the sources of these gravitational waves is due to the fact that LIGO has two detectors, they only managed to allocate quite a narrow band in the night sky, where they could be these black holes. Inside her, despite her modest size, there are millions of galaxies, making the search for the «final product» of these mergers are actually useless.

This summer, resumed its work the European «cousin» LIGO, a gravitational Observatory, VIRGO, constructed in the vicinity of the Italian Pisa in 2003. Work. was suspended in 2011, after which the engineering team of the Observatory held its deep modernization, bringing her sensitivity to the current level of LIGO.

Check all of the detectors VIRGO was completed by 1 August this year, and now the Observatory have launched a joint observation with two detectors LIGO. Its sensitivity is slightly lower than the American gravitational telescope, however, the resulting data allow us to solve two key scientific problems is to improve the quality and reliability of the signal received LIGO, and to determine the three-dimensional position of sources of gravitational waves.

These joint observations will be conducted approximately one month, until the end of August, when the operation of LIGO will be stopped for the next update its detectors. Scientists expect that during this time they will have time to create effective channels for information exchange and will fit the detectors to work together.

The next cycle of joint observations will begin about a year later, in the fall of 2018, and when LIGO and VIRGO will be released simultaneously from «vacation» with a remarkably high sensitivity, which will help them not only to track the mergers of black holes and other objects that generate gravitational waves.