Monday, June 4, 2012

LIGO Science Center

On Tuesday, May 22nd we had a fieldtrip with Bayou Cajun Homeschoolers to LIGO which stands for LASER INTERFEROMETER GRAVITATIONAL-WAVE OBSERVATORY. They had lots of hands-on science activities for the kids. After lunch, there was a tour of the actual observatory for the older children.


Bernoulli blowers
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Screaming balloon
Hinged mirror reflections - the angle of the mirror determines the number of reflections that you see - the bigger the angle, the less reflections; the smaller the angle, the more reflections
3-d glasses and a geyser
Fun with photo booth
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The video on the right was from a heat camera.

Wave machine and Resonant rings
Resonant Rods and Gaussian Melody
Giant slinky waves
Image relay
Drawing table




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After about an hour and a half, we gathered in the auditorium for a video that talked about what they do at LIGO.  Then, we took a break for lunch.  They had a large covered picnic area for us to eat lunch before touring the observatory.

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After lunch, our group (They broke us up into 2 different groups.) went for a tour of the observatory.  Candi stayed back at the education center with our younger children while I took our older children. One of the scientist lead the tour.  She said she is the one they let talk to people because she can talk to groups more normal;)


She took us through the building where you could see boards along the wall with drawings and measurements of different things.  Then, we went into the actual observatory where there is always someone there 24/7.  We didn’t get to see as much since they were in the process of upgrading all of their equipment.  You can go to their website to learn more about what they do.  There is only two of these observatories in the United States.  One in our area and one in Washington state.

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Outside of the observatory they have two concrete arms that stretch 2 miles each.  This is where a lot of there testing takes place.  The 1st picture is a picture from a camera inside one of the arms.  The 2nd picture is a view of the arm from an outside camera.

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After our tour, we went back to the educational center to pick up the rest of our children before heading home.  It was a fun day and the kids enjoyed getting to touch/do the different science experiments. 

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