Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Plans Shape Up for a Revolutionary New Observatory to Explore Black Holes and the Big Bang

ASPERA European network for astroparticle physics: Cascina - Italy, 20th of May, 2011.

A new era in astronomy will come a step closer when scientists from across Europe present their design study today for an advanced observatory capable of making precision measurements of gravitational waves – minute ripples in the fabric of spacetime – predicted to emanate from cosmic catastrophes such as merging black holes and collapsing stars and supernovae. It also offers the potential to probe the earliest moments of the Universe just after the Big Bang, which are currently inaccessible.

The Einstein Observatory (ET) is a so-called third-generation gravitational-wave (GW) detector, which will be 100 times more sensitive than current instruments. Like the first two generations of GW detectors, it is based on the measurement of tiny changes (far less than the size of an atomic nucleus) in the lengths of two connected arms several kilometres long, caused by a passing gravity wave. Laser beams passing down the arms record their periodic stretching and shrinking as interference patterns in a central photo-detector.

The first generation of these interferometric detectors built a few years ago (GEO600, LIGO, Virgo and TAMA) successfully demonstrated the proof-of-principle and constrained the gravitational wave emission from several sources. The next generation (Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo), which are being constructed now, should make the first direct detection of gravitational waves – for example, from a pair of orbiting black holes or neutron stars spiralling into each other. Such a discovery would herald the new field of GW astronomy. However, these detectors will not be sensitive enough for precise astronomical studies of the GW sources.

“The community of scientists interested in exploring GW phenomena therefore decided to investigate building a new generation of even more sensitive observatories. After a three-year study, involving more than 200 scientists in Europe and across the world, we are pleased to present the design study for the Einstein Telescope, which paves the way for unveiling a hidden side of the Universe,” says Harald Lück, deputy scientific coordinator of the ET Design Study.

The design study, which will be presented at the European Gravitational Observatory site in Pisa, Italy, outlines ET’s scientific targets, the detector layout and technology, as well as the timescale and estimated costs. I A superb sensitivity will be achieved by building ET underground, at a depth of about 100 to 200 metres, to reduce the effect of the residual seismic motion. This will enable higher sensitivities to be achieved at low frequencies, between 1 and 100 hertz (Hz). With ET, the entire range of GW frequencies that can be measured on Earth – between about 1 Hz and 10 kHz – should be detected. “An observatory achieving that level of sensitivity will turn GW detection into a routine astronomical tool. ET will lead a scientific revolution”, says Michele Punturo, the scientific coordinator of the design study. An important aim is to provide GW information that complements observational data from telescopes detecting electromagnetic radiation (from radio waves through to gamma-rays) and other instruments detecting high-energy particles from space (astroparticle physics).

A multi-detector
The strategy behind the ET project is to build an observatory that overcomes the limitations of current detector sites by hosting more than one GW detector. It will consist of three nested detectors, each composed of two interferometers with arms 10 kilometres long. One interferometer will detect low-frequency gravitational wave signals (2 to 40 Hz), while the other will detect the high-frequency components. The configuration is designed to allow the observatory to evolve by accommodating successive upgrades or replacement components that can take advantage of future developments in interferometry and also respond to a variety of science objectives.
The European dimension
The European Commission supported the design study within the Seventh Framework Program (FP7-Capacities) by allocating three million Euro.

“With this grant, the European Commission recognized the importance of gravitational wave science as developed in Europe, its value for fundamental and technological research, provided a common framework for the European scientists involved in the gravitational wave search and allowed for a significant step towards the exploration of the Universe with a completely new enquiry instrument”, says Federico Ferrini, director of the European Gravitational Observatory (EGO) and project coordinator of the design study for the Einstein Telescope.

ET is one of the 'Magnificent Seven' European projects recommended by the ASPERA network for the future development of astroparticle physics in Europe. It would be a crucial European research infrastructure and a fundamental cornerstone in the realisation of the European Research Area.

Further information:

Images and movies:

Note for editors:
ASPERA, the AStroParticle European Research Area is a network of European national funding agencies responsible for astroparticle physics. ASPERA is funded by the European Commission, bringing together 17 countries and CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research):

The Einstein Telescope Project (ET) is a joint project of eight European research institutes, under the direction of the European Gravitational Observatory (EGO). The participants are EGO, an Italian French consortium located near Pisa (Italy), Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) in Italy, the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), the German Albert Einstein Institute (AEI) in Hannover, the Universities of Birmingham, Cardiff and Glasgow in the UK, and the Dutch Nikhef in Amsterdam. Scientists belonging to other institutions in Europe, as well as the US and Japan, actively collaborated in the realisation of this design study.

Arnaud Marsollier | Newswise Science News
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor
24.04.2017 | DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology)

nachricht New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers
21.04.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

Latest News

DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor

24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nanoimprinted hyperlens array: Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging

24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>