General relativity is one of the pillars of modern physics, yet over the past century, empirical access has been limited to situations where gravitational fields are nearly stationary (as in the Solar System), or where they are dynamical but relatively weak (as with radio observations of binary neutron stars). Direct detection of gravitational waves (GW), ripples in the curvature of spacetime that propagate at the speed of light, appears in the foreseeable future the only way to observe the genuinely strong-field dynamics of space-time. The worldwide network of second generation laser interferometric GW detectors, with ten times enhanced sensitivity and a 1000 times larger accessible volume of universe and expected detection rate, is undergoing the commissioning phase towards the first joint data taking planned for 2017. Nikhef is involved in the historical quest of the first GW direct detection by participating in the Advanced Virgo project. Read on>>
Virgo is een Michelson laser interferometer in Italië en is onderdeel van een wereldwijd netwerk van detectoren voor het waarnemen van zwaartekrachtgolven. Sinds de start in 2010 is er totaal twee jaar lang gemeten met Virgo.
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