Monthly Public Tours


UPDATE: June 16, 2022

LIGO Hanford Observatory is pleased to announce that it will resume public tours in October 2022 under the following conditions:

  • Tour format may change from what it had been in the past. Please check this page again in August 2022 for the latest instructions and guidelines.
  • All LHO visitors over the age of 18 will be required to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination (physical card or photo of card).
  • Masking may be required on the day of your tour. Bring a mask, just in case.

Tour Information:

LIGO Hanford will resume offering offer free public tours of the observatory one Saturday per month beginning in October 2022 (dates to be determined). Tours include a walking tour of the site, time inside the new LIGO Exploration Center (LExC), and a talk by a staff member.

Prior to planning to visit, please check back here for additional details about possible reservations and any up-to-the-minute logistics required on the tour day.

Additional things to note:

  • Visitors over 18 must show proof of Covid-19 vaccination (physical card or photo of the card).
  • Visitors must adhere to LHO's masking policy on the day of the tour.
  • Visitors do not require any special badging to visit LIGO.
  • Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your tour time.
  • The walking tour lasts about one hour. Guests should dress for the season and wear comfortable walking shoes.
  • Photographs are welcome on site. However, we kindly request that you do not record/video staff members without their permission.
  • LIGO tours are suitable for all ages. The talks are appropriate for visitors aged 12 and up, but all ages are welcome.
  • LIGO’s facilities are wheelchair accessible, though you will encounter two slopes during the site tour itself.

 

What will I see?

During your visit you will have a chance to explore many interactive and static exhibits now housed in LHO's new LIGO Exploration Center (LExC). All of the artifacts that used to be in the lobby of LHO's small reception building are now housed in LExC, including the historic Weber Bar (one of the earliest devices designed to detect gravitational waves) and a full-scale engineering model of LIGO's quad suspension, a feat of engineering critical to LIGO's success. You will also visit the one point on the site where you can see both of the interferometer's 4km-long arms reaching into the Eastern Washington shrub steppe. A highlight for many guests is the interferometer's control room, where you will learn even more about LIGO directly from the people who maintain and operate the world's most sensitive measuring device. Questions enthusiastically welcome!