The detection by the global team, which includes many researchers from Glasgow, took place on 26th December 2015 and follows on from the first historic detection in September 2015.

The gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of spacetime, were detected by both of the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors, located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, USA.

The University of Glasgow’s Institute for Gravitational Research led on the conception, development, construction and installation of sensitive mirror suspensions in the heart of the LIGO detectors, crucial to these first observations. Those suspensions rely on delicate 400-micron-wide fibres made from silica. Despite their fragility, each suspension fibre is very strong, capable of holding up to 70 kilograms. In the LIGO detectors, the mirror suspensions hold 40kg mirrors and keep them from being interfered with by any outside force or vibration except for gravitational waves.

That technology, developed in partnership with the University of Birmingham, the University of Strathclyde, and the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, was based on Glasgow’s pioneering work for the UK/German GEO600 detector.

The LIGO Scientific Collaboration comprises over 1000 scientists from 17 countries, and includes researchers from 10 UK universities (Glasgow, Birmingham, Cardiff, Strathclyde, West of Scotland, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Cambridge, King’s College London and Southampton).

In the video below, scientists at the University of Glasgow describe the significance of this latest observation:


University of Glasgow: ‘Latest Gravitational Wave discovery confirms dawn of new field of astronomy


University of Glasgow: Institute for Gravitational Research

Physical Review Letters: ‘Observation of Gravitational Waves from a 22-Solar-Mass Binary Black Hole Coalescence