Media contact

Dr. Benjamin Knispel
Dr. Benjamin Knispel
Press Officer AEI Hannover
Phone:+49 511 762-19104Fax:+49 511 762-17182

Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, Hannover

https://www.aei.mpg.de

Dr. Elke Müller
Press officer AEI Potsdam-Golm
Phone:+49 331 567-7303Fax:+49 331 567-7297

Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics

http://www.aei.mpg.de

Science contact

Prof. Dr. Bruce Allen
Director
Phone:+49 511 762-17148Fax:+49 511 762-17182

Albert Einstein Institute Hannover

http://www.aei.mpg.de/

Prof. Dr. Alessandra Buonanno
Prof. Dr. Alessandra Buonanno
Director
Phone:+49 331 567-7220Fax:+49 331 567-7298

Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, Potsdam

https://www.aei.mpg.de

Prof. Dr. Karsten Danzmann
Director
Phone:+49 511 762-2356Fax:+49 511 762-5861

Albert Einstein Institute Hannover

http://www.aei.mpg.de

aLIGO dedication

Background information

The Albert Einstein Institute is an institute of the Max Planck Society with sub-institutes in Potsdam-Golm (outside Berlin) and Hannover. Since its foundation in 1995, the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) has established itself as a leading international research center. The research program is pursued in five divisions and several independent research groups cover the entire spectrum of gravitational physics: from the giant dimensions of the Universe to the tiny scales of strings. The AEI is the only institute in the world that brings together all of these key research fields. Three of its five divisions are part of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and work on realizing the first direct detection of gravitational waves.

Gravitational waves are an important prediction of Einstein's theory of general relativity. Accelerated motions of large masses create ripples in space-time, which lead to tiny relative distance changes between far-away objects. Even gravitational waves emitted by astrophysical sources, like stellar explosions or merging black holes, change the length of a one-kilometer measurement distance on Earth by only one thousandth of the diameter of a proton (10-18 meters). Only now the detectors have reached a level of sensitivity at which they can measure gravitational waves. The observation of the until now dark “Gravitational Universe” will usher in a new era in astronomy. The interferometric gravitational-wave detectors such as aLIGO (in the USA), GEO600 (in Germany), and Virgo (in Italy), as well as planned detectors in Japan and India collaborate closely.

When black holes merge strong gravitational waves are emitted. The graph shows a state-of-the-art comparison between waveforms of a black hole binary calculated according to two different techniques (top panel); the lower panel shows the final few cycles, including the merger of the two black holes.  Zoom Image
When black holes merge strong gravitational waves are emitted. The graph shows a state-of-the-art comparison between waveforms of a black hole binary calculated according to two different techniques (top panel); the lower panel shows the final few cycles, including the merger of the two black holes.  [less]

Advanced LIGO (aLIGO) consists of interferometric gravitational-wave detectors at two sites, one in Hanford (Washington State, USA) and one in Livingston (Louisiana, USA). Although still in the commissioning phase, their sensitivity to gravitational waves is already higher than ever before. aLIGO will start its first coordinated data-taking run in the autumn of 2015. At design sensitivity, a ten-fold increase in sensitivity over initial LIGO is expected. This should enable the detection of multiple gravitational-wave events each year.

GEO600 is an interferometric gravitational-wave detector with 600 meter long laser beam tubes, located near Hannover, Germany. It is designed and operated by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics and Leibniz Universität Hannover, along with partners in the United Kingdom, and is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the State of Lower Saxony, the Max Planck Society, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), and the VolkswagenStiftung. GEO600 is part of a worldwide network of gravitational wave detectors and at the moment the only detector taking data almost continuously. GEO600 also is a think tank for advanced detector technologies, such as non-classical (squeezed) light, signal and power recycling, and monolithic suspensions.

The gravitational-wave observatory GEO600 is located in Ruthe near Sarstedt, 20 kilometers south of Hannover. It is a laser interferometer with 600 meter long arms used by AEI scientists to search for the tiny space-time ripples predicted by Albert Einstein. Zoom Image
The gravitational-wave observatory GEO600 is located in Ruthe near Sarstedt, 20 kilometers south of Hannover. It is a laser interferometer with 600 meter long arms used by AEI scientists to search for the tiny space-time ripples predicted by Albert Einstein. [less]

Atlas is a large computer cluster at the Albert Einstein Institute in Hannover with enormous computing capacities. Atlas consists of more than 14,000 CPU cores and 250,000 GPU cores, making it the largest computer cluster worldwide dedicated to gravitational-wave data analysis.

Atlas at the AEI in Hannover ist the worldwide most powerful computercluster dedicated to gravitational-wave data analysis. Zoom Image
Atlas at the AEI in Hannover ist the worldwide most powerful computercluster dedicated to gravitational-wave data analysis. [less]
 
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