LIGO Document P1600122-v2

General relativity and the detection of gravitational waves by LIGO

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On September 14, 2015, two sites of the USA LIGO project equipped with detection device using laser interferometry have successfully detected the gravitational wave for the first time in the history. This gravitational wave was found to be emitted at the merger of two black holes.
Soon after the general relativity was proposed by Einstein, black holes and gravitational waves were predicted in the frame of the theory. Various data strongly indicated the existence of them, but neither had been directly identified. This direct observation has proved the validity of the general relativity. As the same time, it opened a new window to see the universe which had never been observed before.
In this article, after the introductory discussion of general relativity and gravitational waves, the principle of the gravitational wave detector using laser interferometry is explained, together with the LIGO interferometer based on this technology. The details of the new observation and implications of the discovery are discussed. Current development of the gravitational wave international network, including the one in Japan, is briefed.
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minor update

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