Detectors LIGO and Virgo has suspended work due to coronavirus

Scientists indefinitely prigotovili detectors LIGO and Virgo for security in the context of the epidemic of the coronavirus Covid-19, but at that time, scientific groups will be to process the already obtained observations. The third session of observation was completed on 27 March at 20.00 Moscow time, reports the press service of LIGO.

The main goal of the LIGO observatories and Virgo — experimental detection of gravitational waves of cosmic origin. In 2017 Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish, and Pile thorn — founders of the collaboration of observatories, was awarded the Nobel prize in physics for the first observation of gravitational waves, the source of which was the merger of two black holes at a distance from the Earth is 1.3 billion light years.

The third session of observation at the Observatory LIGO began April 1, 2019, and was the most productive during this time, physicists have detected gravitational waves 56.

The management of collaborations with LIGO, EGO and Virgo took the decision to suspend data collection for the third session of observations, however, upgrades to the detectors while that continues. It is unknown what effect the epidemic of coronavirus Covid-19 on the planned improvement of the LIGO complex A+, which will double the sensitivity of existing detectors and seven times will increase the size of the studied space.

Academic group free time will handle large amounts of data, analyze and publish the results, and then returns to the modernization LIGO A+.

One of the most successful improvements of the third session of observations — the use of a squeezed state of light in the detectors, about 3 months ago said the physics of the Virgo collaboration. This innovation allowed to increase the rate of registrations of the waves 40 and 50 percent in Observatory LIGO and 20 percent — Virgo. This is not the first case of suspension of research programs because of the pandemic coronavirus Covid-19: the European space Agency for two weeks, have suspended the work of several spacecraft studying the Solar system, and moved the start of the next phase of the mission “ExoMars” for two years.

Artem Moskin

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