Monthly Public Tours
February 23, 2022
LIGO Hanford Observatory has suspended ALL outreach activities, including Second Saturday tours and drop-in visitation until further notice. We will update this page as soon as we are certain we can welcome public groups once again.
In an effort to continue to prevent the spread of COVID-19 both to the public and to staff, LIGO Hanford Observatory remains closed for all public and private tours, and drop-in visitation until further notice. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Tours are currently suspended. When we are able to reopen after the COVID crisis has passed, LIGO Hanford will once again offer free public tours of the observatory on the second Saturday of each month. At least two walking tours take place on each tour date: one beginning at 1:30 p.m. (ending at ~2:45) and the other at 3:30 p.m. (ending at ~4:45). In the event of high attendance, additional tours will be added as visitor numbers dictate. You may join any tour. In addition to the walking tour, at 3pm, a LIGO staff member will give a public talk. Note: All walking tours departing the lobby before 3pm will return to the auditorium in time to attend the 3pm talk.
Additional things to note:
- Visitors do not require ID to visit LIGO.
- Admission is free and no reservations are required.
- Plan to arrive about 10 minutes prior to the time of the tour you would like to take.
- The walking tour lasts about one hour. Guests should dress for the season and wear comfortable shoes.
- Photographs are welcome so bring your camera!
- 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 see interactive and static exhibits, including a 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 piece of engineering critical to LIGO's success. You will also have access to the one point on the site where you can see both of the interferometer's arms stretching 4km off into the desert. Last but not least, you will visit the control room, where you will learn even more about LIGO from the people who maintain and operate the world's most sensitive measuring device. Questions ALWAYS welcome!