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First Science Data With Advanced LIGO is Near!

5 Aug 2015, 02:06 UTC
First Science Data With Advanced LIGO is Near!
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

It has been a very exciting time for Advanced LIGO recently. A few weeks ago we completed a test run of the instrument to identify any remaining bugs in the instrument or other stability issues. The commissioners (instrumental scientists who work on making LIGO more sensitive) have been busy adjusting various settings in a multitude of subsystems to increase our sensitivity to gravitational waves. We are continuously learning more about how all of these subsystems react to one another and to the environment. And learning is never without its own pains. Some bugs have been bigger than others. We've had to actually touch the new instrumentation - meaning we had to seal off the chamber the part was in, let the air back in (since almost all of the instrument is in a vacuum), fix it, close up the chamber, and pump the air back out. This is rare but it has happened. Once the instrument was performing well, that's when we decided to stop tinkering with it and use it like we would if we were looking for gravitational waves. More subtle issues in stability and other bugs will make themselves apparent only after you use it the way ...

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