(Editor's Note: You can now watch the full 20-minute documentary, "LIGO, A Passion for Understanding," via Space.com here: LIGO, A Passion for Understanding )
A new movie premiering April 15 documents the science and people behind an amazing astronomical tool designed to catch sight of violent cosmic events trillions of miles from Earth.
The new documentary by filmmaker Kai Staats, called "LIGO, A Passion for Understanding," follows scientists working with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatories, or LIGO for short. The observatories use 2.5-mile (4 kilometers) laser beams to hunt for gravitational waves — ripples in space-time created by cataclysmic events in the cosmos.
LIGO's enhanced run ended in 2010, but the Advanced LIGO project featuring newly upgraded instruments is set to begin its run in late 2015. Advanced LIGO will probe deeper into the universe in search of gravitational waves. You can watch the trailer for "LIGO, A Passion for Understanding" on Space.com or directly from filmmaker Kai Staats here.
"We're literally creating a new branch of astrophysics right now," one of the scientists interviewed for the film said in the trailer. "Gravitational waves are the sounds of the universe. Up until now, we've been deaf to what's happening in the universe, and we're about to turn on our ears."
"LIGO, A Passion for Understanding," will premiere live on April 15 on Space.com. The documentary project is funded by the LIGO Laboratory. The LIGO Scientific Collaboration is funded the National Science Foundation, and overseen by the California Institute of Technology and MIT. The LSC is an international collaboration with more than 900 members in 16 different countries.
Scientists think that gravitational waves can be produced by the collisions of two dense objects like a neutron star and a black hole. In theory, the violent clash between the two cosmic bodies actually causes the fabric of space to warp, sending out ripples in space-time throughout the universe.
In March, scientists working with an instrument in the South Pole announced that they detected primordial gravitational waves created a fraction of a fraction of a second after the universe began during a period of rapid growth known as inflation.
For more on "LIGO, a Passion for Understanding," visit: http://www.kaistaats.com/film/ligo/