The dedication ceremony for the second-generation European gravitational interferometer was held on Monday the 20th of February 2017. The ceremony took place at the European Gravitational Observatory (EGO) in Cascina PI, Italy, the site at which Advanced Virgo is located. The ceremony took place in the presence of the presidents of the institutions that have funded the project (INFN, IN2P3, Nikhef) and of representatives of the governments of the six nations whose laboratories are members of the Virgo Collaboration.
With the announcement, on 11 February 2016, of the first detection ever of a gravitational wave by the LIGO and Virgo Collaborations, a New Astronomy, based on listening to the space-time vibrations, was born.
This long-awaited wave, 100 years after the theoretical prediction by Albert Einstein and 50 years after the first experimental efforts, arrived on Earth on 14 September 2015 and was finally perceived by humans with very smart “microphones”.
No doubt that 2015 will be a bright year! It is of course the International Year of Light but it will also mark the first light for the gravitational wave detector Advanced Virgo based near Pisa in Italy. Advanced Virgo aims to detect the most violent events in the universe by measuring on Earth extremely small ripples in the fabric of space time itself. The detector is a giant Michelson interferometer made of two perpendicular 3-km long arms spreading along the Tuscan countryside.