[Image credit: Kim Fetrow/Imageworks]

LIGO Announces Commissioning Break

News Release • July 12, 2019

The LIGO Hanford and Livingston Observatories are scheduling a commissioning break to begin October 1, 2019 at 1500 UTC (0800 Pacific Time). The break is planned for one month and will continue through October 31. During the entire commissioning break, neither LIGO Hanford nor Livingston will be operated in observing mode.  Normal observatory operations will resume on November 1, 2019 at 1500 UTC (0800 Pacific Time).  To preserve the 12 month O3 observing period, the end date for O3 is planned to be April 30, 2020.

Why a Commissioning Break?

LIGO periodically halts observations for so called 'commissioning' breaks. Commissioning breaks are times when engineers can install new components, or upgrade or repair existing elements of the interferometers. Once new parts are introduced however, time is needed for LIGO engineers to test the operation of those parts and ensure that everything is working as planned. LIGO instruments are so complex that even a small change can affect how it works, so operators need time to re-learn how to keep the upgraded interferometers stable. This time, the amount of time needed for all of these phases is one month. To make up for this lost month worth of observing time, the run's end-date will be correspondingly extended by a month.