LIGO | Hanford, WA | June 2019

Black holes and neutron stars collided long ago to produce gravity waves that ripple through the fabric of the universe. Which means the Earth, your body and that breakfast burrito you ate in the car were all crinkled for an instant by distant cataclysms. Me? I hardly noticed. But scientists here at LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) have lasers tuned to detect such phenomena. Each of two laser beams runs 4 kilometers through a pipe protected under a concrete shield (in photo). When the beam flinches by a gazillionth of a millimeter, that means … well, something is messing with space-time. Maybe a gravity wave or two. Very exciting for astrophysicists.

[Click here to learn more about LIGO.]