Gravitational Waves Current Affairs

Maharashtra Government allocates land to LIGO India Project

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.

Key Facts

  • 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.

Background

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.

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India’s first LIGO laboratory to come up in Hingoli, Maharashtra

India’s first LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) laboratory will be set up in Aundh in Hingoli district of Maharashtra.

It will be third such laboratory in the world and first outside the United States. The existing two laboratories are located in Hanford, Washington and in Livingston, Louisiana.

Key Facts

  • The site at Aundh in Hingoli district has been chosen for carrying out experiments on the ambitious LIGO project that proved existence of gravitational waves.
  • It was selected based on site researches conducted by scientists from Department of Science and Technology (DST).
  • The setup of LIGO-India laboratory will involve construction of 8 km-long beam tube at ultra- high vaccum on a levelled terrain.
  • The Aundh site is suitable flat site for carrying out the experiments as the four kms strips require an unhindered straight and flat site for studying the lasers.
  • The LIGO-India laboratory will help to bring considerable opportunities in cutting edge technology for Indian industries.

Background

  • A MoU to set up the LIGO-India project was signed between the scientists from the US’ National Science Foundation (NSF) and India’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the DST in April 2016.
  • Earlier in February 2016, the Union Cabinet had given its in-principle approval to the LIGO-India mega science proposal for research on gravitational waves.

For more Information: (i) Cabinet Approval (ii) India-US MoU (iii) Gravitational Waves

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