Over twenty million dollars will be invested by the US-based National Science Foundation (NSF) and over ten million pounds will be granted by the UK Research and Innovation in order to maintain the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO).
An international collaboration, LIGO made history in 2015 after making the first direct detection of gravitational waves. British scientists from the University of Glasgow's School of Physics and Astronomy contributed to the development of LIGO's sensitive mirror suspensions, which enabled the detection of first gravitational waves.
Researchers from our @UofGravity are celebrating the announcement of tens of millions of pounds of new funding to advance gravitational wave astrophysics at @LIGO: https://t.co/G8E0FiBxEa pic.twitter.com/UvuNWsHV0s— UofG News (@UofGNews) February 15, 2019
"In the three years since LIGO's first detection of gravitational waves, we've observed a remarkable string of cosmic events including a series of black hole collisions and a neutron star merger, the majority of which would have gone unnoticed here on Earth without the advent of gravitational wave astronomy," Professor Sheila Rowan, director of the University's Institute for Gravitational Research, said.
Gravitational waves represent 'ripples' in the fabric of space-time caused by some of the most violent and energetic processes in the universe, which includes collisions of black holes and collapse of stellar cores (supernovae).
Given the new funding announcement, researchers plan to continue "making the detectors even more sensitive to the vibrations of spacetime."
"We expect the steady stream of detections we've enjoyed so far turn into a torrent, providing us with invaluable new data about our universe," Professor Rowan added.
"With improvements to the detectors — which include techniques from quantum mechanics that refine laser light and new mirror coating technology — the twin LIGO observatories will significantly increase the number and strength of their detections. Advanced LIGO Plus will reveal gravity at its strongest and matter at its densest in some of the most extreme environments in the cosmos. These detections may reveal secrets from inside supernovae and teach us about extreme physics from the first seconds after the universe's birth," NSF Director France Córdova said.