Maharashtra Government has allocated 40.68 hectare land to Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) to build LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory) India Project at Dudhala village in Hingoli district.
With this, India will join elite league of countries consisting of US, UK, Italy, Germany and Japan that support on-going research on gravitational waves.
Besides, it will be third such laboratory in the world and first outside US. The existing two LIGO laboratories in US are located in Livingston, Louisiana and Hanford, Washington.
- The LIGO-India Project will be piloted and overseen by Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Department of Science and Technology (DST).
- It will be international collaboration between the LIGO Laboratory of US and consortium of three leading Indian institutions. They are
- (i) Indore’s Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (RRCAT): It will provide its expertise in lasers and laser technology;
- (ii) Pune’s Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA): It will provide the scientific teams, scientific data computation and data acquisition;
- (iii) Gandhinagar’s Institute for Plasma Research (IPR): It will contribute in cryogenic and high vacuum systems for the prestigious project.
In April 2016, India and US had signed an MoU to set up the LIGO Observatory. It was signed between the scientists from the US’ National Science Foundation (NSF) and India’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).
What are gravitational waves?
- Gravitational waves are ripples in the curvature of spacetime which propagate as waves, travelling outward from the source at the speed of light.
- They transport energy as gravitational radiation and pass through matter without interacting with it.
- Gravitational waves were first predicted in 1916 by Albert Einstein on the basis of his Theory of General Relativity.
- Strongest sources of gravitational waves: They are among enigmatic objects in our universe like black holes, supernova, neutron stars and Big Bang.
- Significance: Information extracted by these transmitted waves will help to address unsolved questions and mysteries of physics and astronomy.