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  • LIGO Hanford Observatory News
    Bland and Corey Gray The day unfolded as follows 8 45 AM Arrive and welcome 8 55 10 00 Interactive activities using LIGO exhibits 10 00 10 30 Discussion of activities 10 30 11 15 LIGO presentation Betsy Bland 11 15 11 45 Box lunches 11 45 12 10 Walking tour of the site 12 10 12 50 The LIGO control room with Corey Gray 2 groups 12 50 1 10 Wrap up evaluation departure Students received a copy of the LIGO Explorer to guide them through the standards based exhibit activities Here are a few student comments about the trip I loved it here I d love to walk the whole arm length of 2 5 miles It was a pretty interesting field trip Your jobs are really interesting I think there is a possibility I d like to work here and It was really cold outside to be walking LIGO Hanford hopes to become a frequent field trip destination for area schools One of only five gravitational wave interferometer sites worldwide and one of the two largest the observatory gives students a peek under the hood at cutting edge science although on the day of Pasco s visit

    Original URL path: http://www.ligo.caltech.edu/LIGO_web/0503news/0503han2.htm (2015-06-02)
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  • LIGO Livingston Observatory News
    actively smooth out the rolling waves and whumps in real time shielding the delicate interferometer components from nature s seismic racket Over two years in development the Hydraulic External Pre Isolator HEPI was conceived by our LIGO collaborators at Stanford University and implemented full scale for testing on the LIGO Advanced System Test Interferometer at MIT see our February 2003 Newsletter for more Successful trials showed that the system could remove the offending disturbances effectively simulating the quiet of our calmest summer night 24 hours a day 365 days a year A combined team of Livingston LSU Stanford MIT and Caltech scientists and engineers aided by major subcontractors in five states sprung into action to build enough production copies to equip the seven sensitive optics platforms in the Livingston interferometer At left above tested HEPI hydraulic actuators ready for installation At right operations specialist Gary Traylor assembling the vertical piston into the active isolator foot assembly Each optics platform previously supported directly from the ground will now be placed on a movable stage powered by eight novel hydraulic pistons Like normal hydraulic rams these pistons can move massive loads each LIGO payload weighs close to four tons Unlike conventional pistons however they are based on steel bellows with no sliding joints or seals they are exquisitely sensitive nearly noiseless and capable of sub nanometer precision Above Most of the weight in each foot is borne by these bi helical springs machined from solid bars of maraging steel Each spring winds half clockwise and half counterclockwise so it won t untwist when the payload is moved Below The power supply for each hydraulic circuit is an actively stabilized pump station which continuously adjusts its flow rate under digital control to maintain a precisely stable operating pressure Here Caltech engineer Ken Mailand

    Original URL path: http://www.ligo.caltech.edu/LIGO_web/0403news/0403one.html (2015-06-02)
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  • LIGO Caltech News
    factor ten increase in sensitivity Further the Japanese GW community continues improvements on its TAMA interferometer and is moving ahead with the proposed LCGT cryogenic project in an underground facility Tang Wang and their team of national supporters which already counts ten different institutions six academics more than forty senior scientists and a much larger number of postdoctoral fellows and junior researchers hope to jump into this global picture with a brand new underground facility which they have already baptized CEGO for the China Einstein Gravitational wave Observatory After submitting a letter of intent to the Chinese National Science Development Plan at the end of last year the group obtained an official agreement from the Chinese Government the next move will be to develop an interim proposal for the project which backed up by the international GW community will be presented in the next few months to the Chinese Science Ministry Having lunch on campus from the left Riccardo De Salvo Erika D Ambrosio Caltech postdoctoral fellow Keyun Tang and Maddalena Mantovani Caltech exchange student Tang opened his presentation at Caltech by illustrating the deep roots of China s interest in the structure of the Universe Back in the third century B C the Chinese philosopher Qun Yuan was already posing questions that are still relevant in our present time and some of which still remain unanswered Centuries before Albert Einstein had even been born the Chinese used to call the Universe Yu Zhou Yu in English means space and Zhou means time It s as though they already had a hunch on General Relativity for them the Universe was Space Time Tang s presentation aimed at elaborating the first steps of CEGO and its ambitious plans By this December an initial international design committee will be fully working and

    Original URL path: http://www.ligo.caltech.edu/LIGO_web/0403news/0403two.html (2015-06-02)
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  • NSF Polar Research Programs
    Centigrade in the interior with a bit warmer in the coastal areas Some of the coasts of Antarctica are also the windiest places in the world clocking sustained gusts of nearly 90 meters per second Finally the interior of Antarctica is surprisingly the world s largest desert with precipitation if it were melted averaging under five centimeters of water a year Satellite View of Antarctica Its remoteness extreme weather and ice topography would appear to make Antarctica the last place for research However these same extreme conditions provide a rich environment for discovery Seeking to minimize intrusion and to keep the environment pristine the U S Antarctica Program USAP supports only that research which can be done exclusively in Antarctica or done best from there This specialized research comprises five program areas aeronomy and astrophysics biology and medicine geology and geophysics ocean and climate and glaciology Venturing into this wilderness Barry and his NSB peers left Christ Church New Zealand for the eight hour flight to McMurdo Station on Ross Island in Antarctica Three hours into the flight extreme weather at McMurdo forced the plane to return to New Zealand nicknamed a boomerang flight where they were delayed several more days before weather allowed a second flight to depart From left to right Barry Barish the transport plane and McMurdo Station With zero humidity and temperatures at the South Pole far below the freezing level special clothes and shoes were required The shoes used a cushion of pumped in air between the sole and the person s foot as insulation from the extremely cold surfaces Bundled up and ready to see the vast variety of research underway the group started at McMurdo Station which is the main science and logistics base The Antarctic Biology and Medicine program was conducting research that would provide an improved understanding of physiology behavior adaptations and processes related to life forms and ecosystems in Antarctica Projects involved all levels of organization from the molecular and cellular to communities ecosystems and global processes Investigators are seeking to understand how organisms including humans adapt and live in high latitude environments and how ecosystems respond to global change One such study involves penguins Barry expressed his fascination with the trapping of the birds Taken far in from the coastline scientists drilled a hole for the penguins to use in entering the water Because of their distance from the coastline the penguins would return and exit through this man made hole allowing scientists to track and study them in their natural habitat without fencing them in Above Left a wardrobe of high insulation clothing right the heavily bundled group prepares to depart Below Left an unusually large starfish right penguins under study Another excursion took the NSB journeyers to the Dry Valleys where they saw incredible sculpted structures molded by ice This is an area that provides rich dividends in the study of glacier formation There is almost no snow fall here and geology researchers are rewarded with meteorite

    Original URL path: http://www.ligo.caltech.edu/LIGO_web/0403news/0403three.html (2015-06-02)
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  • LIGO Hanford Observatory News
    offered close up views of planets through their telescopes The big day would follow a week later Middle school students interact with a LIGO suspended mirror as scientist Mike Landry explains how it works in the big detector MESA students learn about how LIGO mirrors are prepared and suspended Pacific Northwest National Lab scientist and Tri City Herald astronomy columnist Roy Gephart discusses the vastness of the heavens A family learns about LIGO s mission to detect spacequakes emanating from deep space Looking over the vast 5 mile expanse of the LIGO arms as seen from the sky Saturday April 24 dawned beautifully clear and approximately 300 visitors trekked out to National Astronomy Day at LIGO Ben Franklin Transit our regional public transportation provider kindly agreed to cosponsor this event by providing free bus service between North Richland and the observatory so we would not need to turn away visitors if too many cars came out The official program began at 2 pm with the first of two public tours of LIGO This provided cover for TCAC astronomers to set up equipment for safe viewing of the surface of the sun beginning at 4 pm The solar viewing was great Two sunspot complexes were visible and the white light filtered scopes could zoom in nicely on the structure of these magnetic anomalies that suppress the heat locally on the sun s surface Off in the shade of our staging building LIGO s assistant scientists were demonstrating small hand held spectrometers developed by Project Astro that split the sunlight into a rainbow of colors Visitors could see that certain slices of color the so called Fraunhofer lines were missing from the solar rainbow The search for an explanation of these missing colors first discovered in the early 1800 s would eventually lead to the underpinnings of 20th century science and technology Now we know that the missing colors are absorbed by atoms in the cooler parts of the sun s atmosphere Star of Show kudos went to two marvelous scopes provided by Mike Durst of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Tony George of Columbia Basin College These two scopes incorporated special H alpha filters to view the sun in the light of an isolated emission line of atomic hydrogen accurate to 1 1000th of the wavelength of this reddish light This gives tremendous contrast in viewing the sun making the boiling convection cells on the surface and the solar prominences at the edges jump into view WOW LIGO scope views a crescent Venus on the night shift A large refractor for planetary viewing A big Dobsonian light bucket for deep sky treasures Throughout the day we had exhibits outside the LIGO auditorium from several community groups that do informal education and public outreach They used this public event to inform visitors about their ambitious programs The Tri City Astronomy Club had contacted the publishers of Astronomy and Sky and Telescope magazines requesting literature and hand outs for our National Astronomy Day

    Original URL path: http://www.ligo.caltech.edu/LIGO_web/0405news/0405han.html (2015-06-02)
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  • LIGO Livingston Observatory News
    may reveal secrets central to many questions of great interest to astrophysicists such as mechanisms describing the coalescence of binary neutron stars the collision of black holes and the remnant gravitational wave signals from the early universe The Educational Outreach Center will tell the public the story that motivates this scientific endeavor using exhibits and materials that reinforce public understanding of basic scientific principles According to LIGO deputy director Stan Whitcomb it will help people understand how they can easily explore fundamental science concepts People who visit the center will learn how these concepts relate to and lead to cutting edge scientific research endeavors The center will help us reach and inspire educators and families who are teaching the nation s future scientists and engineers NSF program director Beverly Berger pointed out the distinctive nature of the collaboration We are pleased to see this unique partnership develop among research scientists museum educators formal educators and networks of local educators from the Livingston region Together they will make connections between science the research at LIGO and the surrounding community A principal feature of the project is the partnering of LIGO with Southern University s College of Education and College of Sciences to develop programs that will enhance the preparation of pre service science teachers and contribute to the professional development of in service teachers By focusing our efforts on students and teachers we position ourselves to significantly improve the level of science literacy throughout future generations said Steve McGuire a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Southern University professor and chair Department of Physics Southern University is the flagship campus of the only Historically Black College and University system in the country and has extensive experience and expertise in producing science and mathematics education majors The Louisiana Systemic Initiatives originally

    Original URL path: http://www.ligo.caltech.edu/LIGO_web/0405news/0405liv.html (2015-06-02)
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  • Gary Sanders To Oversee Design and Development of TMT
    combination of a first rate scientist an exceptional manager and someone who radiates a positive spirit Prior to his work on LIGO Sanders had been Project Manager and Department Head for the GEM Detector of the Superconducting Super Collider Laboratory Sanders said it was the scientific vision of LIGO that chiefly drew him to the project I fell in love instantly with the science of LIGO that s why I came I feel very privileged Sanders said of his work on the project I don t think any scientist has the right to expect something as good as the chance to work on LIGO and I have been very lucky The Thirty Meter Telescope to which Sanders will now bring his skills is planned as a combined optical and infrared telescope 30 meters in diameter which would result in images more than 12 times sharper than those of the Hubble Space Telescope and have nine times the light gathering ability of one of the 10 meter Keck Telescopes which are currently the largest in the world Astrophysicists hope to use the TMT to study the earliest galaxies and the details of their formation as well as to pinpoint the processes which lead to young planetary systems around nearby stars The opportunity to work on this new generation telescope was one I couldn t pass up Sanders said It s a challenge that just looked right for me I learned a lot at LIGO and I would be very happy if I could repeat those experiences here on the TMT The TMT Project is a collaborative effort between Caltech and the University of California Stepping into the role of LIGO Deputy Director is laboratory veteran Stan Whitcomb head of the Detector Support Group whom Barish described as one of the most

    Original URL path: http://www.ligo.caltech.edu/LIGO_web/0405news/0405cit.html (2015-06-02)
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  • LIGO Hanford Observatory News
    signal must rise above the noise floor that is shown by the traces in the figure Lowering the floor to its present level has been a several year challenge requiring LIGO scientists and engineers to develop extremely careful control of the positions and angles of the mirrors and the power and frequency of the laser This occurs through the mastery of a complicated set of about 100 control systems consisting of high performance electronics and embedded computing power Subtle interactions often occur among the control systems For instance high laser power makes the systems very sensitive to mirror positions but elevated light power applies extra radiation pressure to the mirrors This pressure will torque the 10 kg mirrors if the beams aren t centered on them exactly Similarly laser power needs to be high for adequate position control but increasing the power before the mirror positions are stable will result in saturation of the detector Understanding these types of interactions in greater clarity and detail has enabled LIGO personnel to improve the overall control of the interferometer producing a more stable and more sensitive instrument The contributions of several noise sources for the H1 interferometer are shown in the figure on the right Here the noise is given as displacement rather than strain Above 200 Hz the main source is quantum shot noise Below 200 Hz the control systems that are designed to keep a suspended optic in place in both position and angle will also impart small levels of vibration to that optic Systems that perform position control on the beam splitter and the recycling mirror auxiliary length loops angular control on all the mirrors angular control loops and actuation on the end mirrors are currently limiting our sensitivity at lower frequencies These systems provide clear targets for further

    Original URL path: http://www.ligo.caltech.edu/LIGO_web/0409news/0409han.html (2015-06-02)
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