LIGO Document G1201266-v1

Smoke, Mirrors, Big Bangs And Big Scientific Payoffs: An outline for using an interferometer network to conduct astronomy.

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First generation gravitational wave(GW) detectors reached their goals for sensitivity, and have been producing interesting scientific results. Yet current detectors have not made a GW detection, but a new generation of GW detectors, currently under construction, will be poised to make this elusive detection. The new detectors will behave very differently than initial GW detectors, with more opportunities for smoked optics and electronics, larger test optics (ie inertial masses), more numerous control optics, and 10,000s of degrees of freedom in their control. At this level of complexity a network of such detectors should be able to measure the smallest distortions of space-time generated by massive stellar collisions. This talk is intended to be a walk through of new GW detection technology, the techniques required to make operate the instrument, the data analysis methods required to extract astrophysical event signatures from our data, and the future coordination with existing electromagnetically conducted astronomy. Using GWs to open a new window on astronomy has been a monumental undertaking with monumental exciting payoffs when advanced GW detectors like LIGO start making regular GW detections in the near future.
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