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LIGO Hanford Tours

Upcoming Free Public Tours:

Saturday, April 8th, 2017:

Tour 1 @ 1:30 p.m.

Tour 2 @ 3:00 p.m.


More about LIGO Hanford Observatory (LHO) Tours


**Special note on visiting LHO around the time of the total solar eclipse on August 21st, 2017

Because of LIGO Hanford Observatoy's proximity to the path of totality of the eclipse (we are about a 3-hour drive north of the path of totality), we are anticipating increased interest in visiting the observatory in the week leading up to and following the eclipse. As a result, dates and times for special/private tours may be limited. If you were planning on visiting LIGO Hanford Observatory around the time of the eclipse, please contact our Education and Outreach Coordinator for tour scheduling options.


Monthly Saturday Public Tours *NEW FORMAT* 

LIGO Hanford offers tours of our facility on the second Saturday of each month. Two tours will take place on each tour date, the first starting at 1:30 p.m., and the second starting at 3:00 p.m.

The 1:30 tour begins with a walking tour of the site and concludes in our auditorium at 3:00 with a 30-minute presentation by a LIGO Hanford scientist or engineer.

The 3:00 tour begins with the presentation in the auditorium and is then followed by the walking tour commencing at 3:30. Walking tours take about 1 hour.

What will I see during my tour?

On your tour you will visit the 'overpass' where you can see both arms of the interferometer stretching 4 km (2.5 miles) off into the distance, get up close to samples of the laser beam vacuum tube and its protective concrete enclosure, and step inside the control room, where you will learn more about how our remarkable instrument works. Outside the auditorium, you will see many interactive and static displays and exhibits, including a full-scale engineering model of the "quad suspension" that is so critical to LIGO's success.

Tours last 1.5 to 2 hours. Admission is free and no reservations are required. Photographs are welcome so don't forget your camera!

LIGO tours work best for middle school ages and above, but all ages are welcome. Guests should dress for the season and wear comfortable shoes.  LIGO’s facilities are wheelchair accessible.


Private Tours  

Groups of 15 individuals or more can schedule a private weekday tour of the observatory. Nearly all aspects of our private tours are the same as the public tours described above. Send an email to outreach@ligo-wa.caltech.edu or call 509-372-8248 to schedule a private tour the LIGO Hanford Observatory.


Drop-Ins

Individuals whose travel through the Tri-Cities doesn’t overlap with a public tour date, but who want to take a brief look at LIGO, are free to visit the observatory on most weekdays between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. During these un-hosted visits, guests can view a number of posters, exhibits, and hardware displays in LIGO’s visitor area.


School Groups

If you are from a school and considering a field trip to LIGO Hanford, visit our field trip web page.


Directions to LIGO Hanford Observatory

Please check the driving directions to our facility. Cell phones often fail to recognize LIGO Hanford’s address and coordinates. Note that Horn Rd and Rte 10 are the same road.

Contact Information

For more information or to book a private tour, contact:

Amber Henry
LIGO-Hanford Observatory
Education and Outreach Coordinator
509-372-8248
amber.henry@ligo-wa.caltech.edu