Help LIGO scientists make gravitational-wave discoveries by identifying how to improve our detectorsLearn more
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In 2015 the Advanced LIGO detectors made the first observation of gravitational waves. Gravitational waves are produced by some of the most cataclysmic events in the Universe, such as the collisions of black holes. However, by the time they reach Earth, they are minuscule, and require extremely sensitive instruments, such as the Advanced LIGO detectors, to be measured. By studying gravitational waves we can learn more about how our Universe works, especially about the properties of black holes, which are hard to observe otherwise!
Gravitational-wave detectors are complicated machines. In addition to real signals, their data contains a variety of different sources of noise. Short bursts of noise are called glitches. Glitches greatly complicate the identification and analysis of gravitational-wave signals. They have a range of instrumental and environmental origins. The goal of this project is to try to hunt down the origins of different types of glitch, such that LIGO scientists can work to eliminate them. You are asked to find common patterns in gravitational-wave data and in other measurements from the LIGO site that record the state of the detector.
Understanding the variety of glitches in the data is the first step in being able to identify their causes. Our volunteers successfully identified multiple new types of glitch! We are now also asking volunteers to help narrow down the causes of glitches by looking at additional data collected by our detectors too.
Gravity Spy is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) grants INSPIRE 1547880 IIS-2107334. This project is based upon work supported by NSF’s LIGO Laboratory which is a major facility fully funded by the NSF.