Prototype beam splitter for the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO)
Image number: E2008.186.1_0004
This is a prototype part for Advanced LIGO, one of the most sensitive experiments ever designed. It will split a laser beam down two paths, several kilometres long. Scientists will look for changes in the path lengths that might be caused by a passing gravitational wave.
Gravitational waves are tiny, fleeting warps in the fabric of space-time, predicted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity. They are caused by moving bodies such as colliding stars.
- Image number:
- Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library
- Image rights: