LIGO's 1st Observing Run Has Started

LIGO started its 1st observing run on Sep 18, 2015. The beginning of observations follows 5 years of comprehensive detector upgrades, which resulted in a 3-fold increase of sensitivity. The run also follows several weeks of final preparations, during which the two LIGO detectors located in Hanford, Washington and Livingston, Louisiana operated in the test mode.

The observing run will continue for 3 months. During that time, the two detectors will be running at the same time while maintaining a lock. About 75 astronomical observatories and projects around the world have signed collaboration agreements with the LIGO Project. According to these agreements, the participants will receive prompt notifications about LIGO's findings of possible GW candidate events so that they, too, can start their observations. This will "enable multi-messenger observations of astrophysical events by GW detectors along with a wide range of telescopes and instruments of mainstream astronomy," according to the website of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC).

Image: Caltech/MIT/LIGO Lab.

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