Science News

ICCUB is now part of the Virgo collaboration

Published on 12.07.2018

 
The Institute of Cosmos Sciences has joined the Virgo Collaboration, becoming part of the group of outstanding centres involved in this project. As Virgo is one of the largest physics experiments and an observatory in the field of gravitation, this fact becomes a great opportunity for ICCUB to contribute to expand the knowledge about gravitational waves.

The agreement, which will be revised in one year from now, involves four researchers from our institution. The commitment of ICCUB for this first year is to provide support on software development and optimization, massive data processing tools and data transfer and archival strategies, in which the team has remarkable expertise owing to the participation in other projects such as the Gaia mission or the Large Hadron Collider LHCb experiment. This agreement has the purpose of facilitating prompt and reliable alerts on gravitational wave events and to improve the usage of the computational resources of the project.

Virgo is a large Michelson interferometer, with 3 km arms, designed to detect gravitational waves predicted by the general theory of relativity. It is part of the global network of gravitational waves observatories, which currently includes the two LIGO detectors in the US and Virgo. After the first detection of gravitational waves by LIGO in 2015, and the first event detected by the 3 observatories in 2017, Virgo has moved from the experimental to the observational stage. In 17 August 2017, the era of multi-messenger astronomy was born, with the first ever detection of an astronomical event both in gravitational waves and in the electromagnetic spectrum. Virgo is a scientific collaboration of laboratories from six countries: Italy, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Hungary and Spain.