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Published October 15, 2001 | Submitted
Report Open

LIGO Physics Environmental Monitoring at the 40-meter Prototype


When Einstein formulated General Relativity, he made numerous predictions including the existence of gravitational waves. Until now, though, they have been impossible to detect. LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, has been built to overcome this. Major difficulties arise as a result of the fact that gravitational waves are inherently weak; LIGO is expected to detect stretching on the order of 10-18 meters. With the need for such precise measurements, a very large number of unwanted effects have to be minimized. Thus, physical environmental effects must be monitored with care and analyzed. Among the tools needed are a weather monitor, accelerometers and seismometers, and vacuum monitors. Each of these devices must be connected to the network and queried by the database, and the data coming from them must be analyzed. In order to accomplish all this, we must setup the hardware; write code to query each device and format the data; create GUIs to display the data; and design data analysis programs. Such systems have been designed and built for the two LIGO observatory sites. In this project I implement a Physical Environmental Monitoring system for the Caltech 40-meter Interferometer Prototype Laboratory, and analyze the data obtained.

Additional Information

© 1991 Finally, I would like to extend many thanks to Alan J. Weinstein, Dennis Ugolini, Ben Abbott, Steve Vass, Ken Libbrecht, NSF and SURF.

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August 19, 2023
August 19, 2023