Gravitational Wave Observations

LIGO-India: India’s Node in Global Universe Probe


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: LIGO

Mains level: Gravitational waves study


India has given the final approval to build its biggest scientific facility, Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), in the Hingoli district of Maharashtra. The facility will join the global project to detect and study gravitational waves.

Gravitation and General Theory of Relativity

  • Newton’s law of gravitation, proposed by Sir Isaac Newton in the 17th century, explains that the force that makes an object fall to the ground is also responsible for making heavenly bodies go around in their orbits.
  • However, the theory did not explain the existence of an attractive force between any two bodies or the instantaneous propagation of the gravitational force over large distances.
  • In 1915, Albert Einstein proposed the General Theory of Relativity, which altered our understanding of gravitation. Einstein proposed that space-time interacted with matter, was influenced by it, and in turn, and influenced events.
  • The curvature in space-time produced by matter was the reason other smaller bodies in the vicinity felt the gravitational pull.
  • General Relativity also predicted that moving objects would generate gravitational waves in space-time.

What is LIGO?

What is it?

Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)
Purpose Detect and study gravitational waves
Cause Ripples in spacetime caused by violent and energetic events in the universe
Location Livingston, Louisiana and Hanford, Washington
Detector Michelson interferometer
Function Measure changes in length caused by passing gravitational waves
Benefits Improving our understanding of the universe and its origins
Discovery Detected gravitational waves for the first time in 2015
Significance Confirmed a prediction made by Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity
Field Gravitational wave astronomy
Discoveries Many exciting discoveries about the nature of the universe

About LIGO-India

  • LIGO-India will be the fifth node of this international network of gravitational wave observatories, and possibly the last.
  • The instrument is so sensitive that it can easily get influenced by events like earthquakes, landslides, or even the movement of trucks, and produce a false reading.
  • That is why multiple observatories are needed to revalidate the signals.
  • India’s involvement in LIGO is crucial to demonstrating its intent and capability to pull-off complex science projects independently.


  • The detection and study of gravitational waves could help in understanding the universe’s structure, the origin of the universe, and the functioning of black holes.
  • The LIGO project also has huge spin-off benefits for India’s science and technology sector.


Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥Mentorship New Batch Launch
💥Mentorship New Batch Launch