assembling contingent understanding composing calibrated predictions generating quantitative estimations computing accurate estimations formulating intelligent futures mapping the future exploring probable forecasts crowdsourcing predictive understanding mapping probable contingencies forecasting accurate understanding modeling contingent understanding crowdsourcing accurate estimations forecasting accurate estimations formulating critical insights

Question

Metaculus Help: Spread the word

If you like Metaculus, tell your friends! Share this question via Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit.

Will a third LIGO detector be built in India by 2027?

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) has been responsible for some tremendously exciting science this decade.

  • On September 14, 2015, LIGO detected (through gravitational waves) the merger of two black holes billions of light years away.
  • This triumph opened a new era of gravitational wave astronomy, giving us a radical new tool to probe the cosmos.
  • LIGO and friends (like VIRGO in Europe) have since seen other black hole mash-ups and even, amazingly, the smashing of 2 neutron stars.
  • The engineering required to make this observatory hop is just ridiculous.

However, per astrophysicist Ethan Siegel, LIGO misses ~100,000 black hole mergers every year. Whoa!

We need backup, apparently!

Well, help may soon be on the way, in the form of another LIGO detector under construction in India. LIGO-India "is a planned advanced gravitational-wave observatory to be located in India as part of the worldwide network." Possible benefits include:

Adding a new detector to the existing network will increase the expected event rates, and will boost the detection confidence of new sources (by increasing the sensitivity, sky coverage and duty cycle of the network). But the dramatic improvement from LIGO-India would come in the ability of localizing GW sources in the sky. Sky-location of the GW sources is computed by combining data from geographically separated detectors ('aperture synthesis'). Adding a new detector in India, geographically well separated from the existing LIGO-Virgo detector array, will dramatically improve the source-localization accuracies (5 to 10 times), thus enabling us to use GW observations as an excellent astronomical tool.

LIGO-India is set to be built by 2025. That's 2 years before our question's deadline. But delays on massive science projects happen with some frequency. (Ahem, Elon Musk. Ahem, James Webb Telescope.)

Can the LIGO-India team make their deadline (given a 2 year fudge factor) and get their LIGO operational (defined taking test data demonstrating a sensitivity within a factor of 10 of the instrument's specified sensitivity) by 12/31/27?

{{qctrl.predictionString()}}

Metaculus help: Predicting

Predictions are the heart of Metaculus. Predicting is how you contribute to the wisdom of the crowd, and how you earn points and build up your personal Metaculus track record.

The basics of predicting are very simple: move the slider to best match the likelihood of the outcome, and click predict. You can predict as often as you want, and you're encouraged to change your mind when new information becomes available. With tachyons you'll even be able to go back in time and backdate your prediction to maximize your points.

The displayed score is split into current points and total points. Current points show how much your prediction is worth now, whereas total points show the combined worth of all of your predictions over the lifetime of the question. The scoring details are available on the FAQ.

Note: this question resolved before its original close time. All of your predictions came after the resolution, so you did not gain (or lose) any points for it.

Note: this question resolved before its original close time. You earned points up until the question resolution, but not afterwards.

This question is not yet open for predictions.

Thanks for predicting!

Your prediction has been recorded anonymously.

Want to track your predictions, earn points, and hone your forecasting skills? Create an account today!

Track your predictions
Continue exploring the site

Community Stats

Metaculus help: Community Stats

Use the community stats to get a better sense of the community consensus (or lack thereof) for this question. Sometimes people have wildly different ideas about the likely outcomes, and sometimes people are in close agreement. There are even times when the community seems very certain of uncertainty, like when everyone agrees that event is only 50% likely to happen.

When you make a prediction, check the community stats to see where you land. If your prediction is an outlier, might there be something you're overlooking that others have seen? Or do you have special insight that others are lacking? Either way, it might be a good idea to join the discussion in the comments.