National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Mitaka Open House Day 2016 “Gravitational Waves, a new Frontier of Astronomy”


Illustration of KAGURA

This is a conceptual image of the Large-scale Cryogenic Gravitational Wave Telescope KAGRA. Its 2 arms with lengths of 3 kilometers meet at a right angle to form an ‘L’ shape. By monitoring changes in the lengths of the arms, researchers can detect gravitational waves. The NAOJ Gravitational Wave Project Office, in cooperation with the University of Tokyo, the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK), and others, constructed KAGRA underground in the Kamioka Mine in Gifu Prefecture. Now, preparations are underway for science observations.

The Beginning of Gravitational Wave Astronomy

Gravitational waves were successfully detected for the first time ever in September 2015. Until then, humanity had observed the Universe through electromagnetic waves, exemplified by visible-light and radio waves. With the successful detection of gravitational waves, we obtained a revolutionary new method of investigation different from the electromagnetic waves observed up until then. It was the start of a new research field, “Gravitational Wave Astronomy.”

Gravitational Waves, a new Frontier of Astronomy

NAOJ is conducting research and development for gravitational wave telescopes, as exemplified by the construction of KAGRA. Using the results from observing the Universe at multiple wavelengths, we expect multi-messenger astronomy, which combines “gravitational waves” and multi-wavelength astronomy using visible-light and radio waves, to advance our understanding of even more phenomena.

The Commencement of Mitaka Open House Day

The 300-meter gravitational wave antenna “TAMA300” in NAOJ Mitaka Campus will be open to the public during the Mitaka Open House Day held on October 21 (Friday) and 22 (Saturday) 2016 [Note]. The event will also introduce the latest astronomy being undertaken by NAOJ, including gravitational waves. There are many other fun events planned, so please come and take a look. We’ll be waiting for you in Mitaka Campus.

[Note]: “TAMA300” will be open for viewing only on October 22 (Saturday). Tickets required.

Text by: Taiga Hamura (Public Relations Center)
Translation by: Ramsey Lundock (NAOJ)

Image Data

TelescopeLarge-scale Cryogenic Gravitational Wave Telescope KAGRA (visualization)
CreditNational Astronomical Observatory of Japan


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