India’s first LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) laboratory will be set up in Aundh in Hingoli district of Maharashtra. It will be third such laboratory in the world and first outside the United States.
LIGO-India will bring considerable opportunities for Indian scientists in instrumentation and development also, as they along with industry members will be engaged in the construction of the eight km-long beam tube at ultra-high vacuum on a levelled terrain.
The site at Aundh in Hingoli district was selected for carrying out experiments on the ambitious LIGO project that proved existence of gravitational waves. Importantly, the Aundh site is suitable flat site for carrying out the experiments as the four kms strips require an unhindered straight and flat site for studying the lasers. The site was selected based on site researches conducted by scientists from Department of Science and Technology (DST).
Importantly, the LIGO concept built upon early work by several scientists to test a component of Albert Einstein's theory of relativity. An MoU to set up the LIGO-India project was signed between the scientists from the US’ National Science Foundation (NSF) and India’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the DST in April 2016.