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Two neutron stars colliding as gravitational waves spill outward.
On April 1, scientists will flip the switch on three giant machines that can detect ripples in the very fabric of the universe -- the mind-bending phenomena known as "gravitational waves".
Twin - Facilities - Laser - Interferometer - Gravitational-Wave
The giant twin facilities of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), in Louisiana and Washington, and the Virgo interferometer, stationed in Italy, have recently undergone significant upgrades to improve their many components.
Now they're ready to get back to work.
Facilities - Waves - Suite - Lasers - Mirrors
The facilities are able to detect gravitational waves because of a suite of high-powered lasers and mirrors. Each facility is arranged in an "L" shape with perpendicular arms stretching out for miles. At the corner of the L, a laser is fired, zipping down both arms and bouncing off mirrors before being sent back to its origin to recombine.
Gravitational waves give off very, very, very faint signals that can disturb the path of the laser and thus allow scientists to detect these universe-rippling events.
Power - Lasers - Mirrors - LIGO - Sensitivity
After upgrading the power of its lasers and replacing its mirrors, LIGO now has an increased sensitivity of about 40 percent over its last run. That will allow the twin facilities to peer across an even more vast amount of space in its effort to detect the waves. Similarly, Virgo has about doubled its own sensitivity.
With all three machines running better than ever before, detecting and locating...
(Excerpt) Read more at: CNET
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