About the Instruments and Collaborations

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) is a large-scale physics experiment designed to directly detect gravitational waves. The LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) and the Virgo Collaboration pursue gravitational wave science with these detectors, along with partner collaborations around the world.

LIGO Science Overviews

Publications and Documents


The LIGO Observatory

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) consists of two widely separated installations within the United States — one in Hanford, Washington and the other in Livingston, Louisiana — operated in unison as a single observatory. LIGO is operated by the LIGO Laboratory, a consortium of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Funded by the National Science Foundation, LIGO is an international resource for both physics and astrophysics.


Virgo has been designed and built by a collaboration between the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the Italian Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN). It is now operated and improved in Cascina, a small town near Pisa on the site of the European Gravitational Observatory (EGO), by an international collaboration of scientists from France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Hungary.

The GEO600 Detector

The GEO600 project aims at the direct detection of gravitational waves by means of a laser interferometer of 600 m armlength located near Hannover, Germany. Besides collecting data for gravitational wave searches, the GEO600 detector has been used to develop and test advanced instrumentation for gravitational wave detection.

The LIGO Scientific Collaboration

The The LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) is a group of scientists focused on the direct detection of gravitational waves, using them to explore the fundamental physics of gravity, and developing the emerging field of gravitational-wave science as a tool of astronomical discovery. The LSC works toward this goal through research on, and development of techniques for, gravitational wave detection; and the development, commissioning and exploitation of gravitational wave detectors. The LSC carries out the science of the LIGO and GEO600 Observatories. Participation in the LSC is open to all interested scientists and engineers from educational and research institutions.