- PM recently laid down the foundation stone of Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory – India (LIGO-India).
- The LIGO-India facility is being constructed in Hingoli district in Maharashtra.
- LIGO – India is a planned advanced gravitational- wave observatory to be located in India as part of the worldwide network.
- The project was given “in principle” approval in 2016 to be completed by 2030.
Besides the United States (in Hanford and Livingston), such gravitational wave observatories are currently operational in Italy (Virgo) and Japan (Kagra).
- Funding by Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
- It will be the fifth node of the planned network and will bring India into a prestigious international scientific experiment.
WORKING MECHANISM OF LIGO
- The observatory comprises two 4-km-long vacuum chambers, built perpendicular to each other with highly reflective mirrors at the ends.
- Light rays are released simultaneously in both vacuum chambers.
- In normal circumstances, the light rays in both chambers would return simultaneously.
- However, if a gravitational wave arrives, one chamber gets elongated while the other gets squished, causing a phase difference in the returning light rays.
- Detecting this phase difference confirms the presence of a gravitational wave.
SCIENTIFIC BENEFITS OF LIGO INDIA
- The LIGO-India project would have several spin-off benefits to Indian science.
- The observatory is expected to enable dramatic returns in astronomy and astrophysics, as well as leapfrog Indian science and technology in cutting-edge frontiers of great national relevance.