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Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (L.I.G.O.) is designed
to confirm the existence of gravity waves, a basic and still mysterious
cosmic force predicted by Albert Einstein nearly 100 years ago.
Gravity waves are created during the
collision of stars and other heavy objects in the universe.They
are believed to affect space as well as objects in much the same way a
dropped pebble disturbs the surface of a quiet pond.
L.I.G.O. will consist of two nearly 2.5-mile long installations located
at Hanford, WA and Livingston Parish, LA. When the L.I.G.O. facilities
are completed, scientists hope to gain insight
into black holes, the birth of stars, galactic collisions and other astrophysical
events that provide clues to the origins of the cosmos.
Measuring the effects
The L.I.G.O. facilities will contain extremely sensitive optical laser
interferometers to measure the very small effects of the gravity waves.
It is hoped these facilities will provide unique information about the
physics of the strongest gravitational fields in the universe and the
nature of the astronomical systems that generate them.
L.I.G.O. scientists eventually may be able to identify gravity waves created
by the Big Bang. The new instruments will help to identify objects in
deep space that cannot be "seen" from
energy given off in the form of light, X-rays or other electromagnetic