LIGO Sheds Light on Cosmic Event

An analysis by the international LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) Scientific Collaboration has excluded one previously leading explanation for the origin of an intense gamma-ray burst that occurred last winter. Gamma-ray bursts are among the most violent and energetic events in the universe, and scientists have only recently begun to understand their origins.

The LIGO project, which is funded by the National Science Foundation, was designed and is operated by the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the purpose of detecting cosmic gravitational waves and for the development of gravitational-wave observations as an astronomical tool. Research is carried out by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, a group of 580 scientists at universities around the United States and in 11 foreign countries. The LIGO Scientific Collaboration interferometer network includes the GEO600 interferometer, located in Hannover, Germany, funded by the Max-Plank-Gesellschaft/Science and Technologies Facilities Council and designed and operated by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics and partners in the United Kingdom.

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