Japan begins test run of gravity wave detector

Tokyo, March 25 (IANS) Japanese scientists on Friday began a test run of an underground telescope to detect gravitational waves and gain a better understanding of the universe through their observations.

The test run, which will continue until March 31, comes a month after a US-led team of scientists said it had identified the gravitational waves, theorised 100 years ago by Albert Einstein, EFE news reported.

The KAGRA telescope is installed inside a tunnel located more than 200 metres underground at the Kamioka mine site in the Gifu prefecture to minimise seismic noise.

The facility uses laser beams moving back and forth inside vacuum pipes that have mirrors placed at each end to detect the very small waves.

The Japanese efforts to detect gravitational waves are being led by 2015 Physics Nobel laureate Takaaki Kajita from the University of Tokyo.

After checking the telescope’s performance with another test run in April, the Japanese team plans to make modifications to boost its sensitivity and start full-fledged operation between 2017 and 2018.

“We want to join the international network of gravitational wave observation as soon as possible,” Kajita said in a statement.

Gravitational waves GW150914 were discovered on September 14, 2015, by twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors in the USA’s Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington.

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