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Current Affairs 2023

LIGO-India - UPSC Current Affairs

LIGO-India is a gravitational wave observatory being built in India, in collaboration with the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) in the USA. It aims to detect and study gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of spacetime caused by violent cosmic events like colliding black holes or neutron stars.

Apr 09, 2023

3 min read

LIGO-India is set to become the country's largest scientific facility after the government gave the final green light for its construction. This exciting project will see India join the global effort to detect and study gravitational waves, which were first theorized in Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity.


LIGO is an international network of laboratories that aim to detect the ripples in spacetime produced by the movement of large celestial objects. LIGO-India will be located in the Hingoli district of Maharashtra, around 450 km east of Mumbai, and will begin scientific runs from 2030. Here's everything you need to know about the theory of gravitation, Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, and the significance of the LIGO project.


Sir Issac Newton's Law of Gravitation is a staple of high-school science education. It states that the same force that makes objects fall to the ground is also the force that causes heavenly bodies to orbit around each other. Newton's mathematical formulation was able to accurately predict the strength of this force, which was proportional to the masses of the two bodies and inversely proportional to the distance between them.


However, Newton's Law of Gravitation had two major deficiencies. The first was that it did not explain the reason for the existence of the attractive force between any two bodies. The second problem was apparent with the publication of Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity in 1905, which established that nothing could travel faster than the speed of light. Yet, the gravitational force seemed to propagate instantaneously over long distances.


Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, published in 1915, changed our understanding of gravitation. He proposed that spacetime was not just a passive backdrop to the universe's events but rather interacted with matter and influenced events. It was like a soft fabric that responds to a heavy object placed on it and curls around it. The curvature in spacetime produced by a heavy mass is what creates the gravitational pull. In other words, there is no force at all; gravitation is just the curvature in spacetime.


General Relativity also predicted that moving objects would generate gravitational waves in spacetime. These waves have the effect of causing a temporary deformation in a body when it comes into contact with them. Because gravity is the weakest of all natural forces, the deforming effect of gravitational waves is extremely tiny, which is why it took 100 years to experimentally verify them.


LIGO's aim is to measure these tiny effects of gravitational waves. It consists of laser interferometers that detect the minuscule changes in distance caused by the waves. LIGO-India's addition to the global network of laboratories will allow scientists to study gravitational waves from new locations and increase the precision of measurements.


In conclusion, LIGO-India is an exciting project that will further our understanding of the universe and our place in it. By detecting and studying gravitational waves, scientists can learn more about the celestial objects that produce them and explore the fundamental principles of physics.


Reference source: IE

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