Virgo

Louvain-La-Neuve

CP3 - Research directions and experiments
Virgo is a laser interferometer designed to detect gravitational waves. Virgo is operated and improved in Cascina, a small town near Pisa on the site of the European Gravitational Observatory (EGO), by an international collaboration of about 300 scientists from France, Italy, the Netherlands, Hungary, Poland, Spain, and Belgium (since July 2018).

Projects

Click the title to show project description.
  • In July 2018 CP3 members have joined the Virgo Collaboration at the European Gravitational Observatory (EGO) near Pisa in Italy. Virgo is the European laser interferometer for gravitational wave detection. After several years of instrument upgrades, Virgo went in observation mode in August 2017, about one year and half after the two LIGO interferometers in the US had detected for the first time gravitational waves. Virgo and LIGO work in close collaboration, sharing data, analysing data and publishing together. Fundamental research in gravitational wave experimental physics was funded for the first time in Belgium at the end of 2018 with a project led by UCLouvain and ULiege. On the data analysis side the plan is on one side to investigate the properties of binary black hole coalescence events, possibly relating them to theoretical models of dark matter and/or primordial black holes, and on the other to search for a stochastic gravitational wave background originating from the very early moments of the life of the Universe, a discovery that would be foundational for cosmology. On the instrumentation side, contributions to computing and the optical system of the Virgo interferometer are planned.
    CP3 members are also actively supporting the Einstein Telescope project, a proposed underground laser interferometer project for gravitational wave detection that is expected to take over from LIGO and Virgo around 2030.