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Home page > Research topics > Virgo

From Virgo to Advanced Virgo

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The Virgo experiment is a european scientific collaboration, which aims at the detection of the gravitational waves emitted from astrophysical sources (neutron stars, black holes, supernovae, etc...). Since August 2017, the Virgo detector is involved in multi-messager astronomy and offers a new way to observe the Universe.

The Virgo detector is an interferometer 3 km long, built near Cascina in Italy, close to Pisa.
The Virgo experiment works within a worldwide network of other gravitational waves observatories, like LIGO in USA, GEO in Germany, or KAGRA in Japan.

Vue aérienne de l’interféromètre Virgo
Localisation de Virgo

From May 2007 to October 2011, Virgo has done four scientific data taking, among which three were done in coincidence with the american LIGO experiment, without detecting any gravitational wave.

Then, a more sentitive detector, Advanced Virgo, has been installed ans has allowed to participate with LIGO, during August 2017, to the scientific run O2, with a sensitivity sufficient to allow the network of detectors Advanced Virgo and Advanced LIGO to do several gravitational wave detections, among which is the famous binary neutron stars coalescence GW170817.

From April 1st 2019 up to March 27th 2020, this pioneering work of gravitational wave astronomy has continued with the O3 scientific run, which has provided up to now a catalog of more than 50 detections of binary black hole or binary neutron star coalescences.

A significant improvement of Advanced Virgo (Advanced Virgo+) is in preparation and should allow, as soon as Easter 2022, to detect, during the one year long O4 run, about 10 times more sources of gravitational waves.

For more information, you can visit the web page of the Virgo experiment, ask to come on the experiment’s site or write to us.