The biggest news in science recently is the detection of gravity waves by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and the Virgo interferometer. You can learn more about it in this YouTube video. LIGO actually consists of two separate observatories in the US, and the Virgo interferometer is a single instrument in Italy. All three are ‘L’ shaped, with the two LIGO instruments measuring 4 km on each arm and Virgo measuring 3 km on each arm.
The LIGO detector in Washington State.
The LIGO detector near Livingston, Louisiana.
The Virgo interferometer, Italy.
Another similar instrument is GEO600, located near Sarstedt, Germany. It is quite a bit smaller, with arms 600 m long.
GEO600, Sarstedt, Germany
Another type of large scientific instrument is the particle accelerator. The most famous is the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. However, the LHC, like most other particle accelerators is underground and we can only identify a few related buildings on the surface. There are some particle accelerators that do have significant structures above ground, which you can see in Google Earth. Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), in Illinois, has an accelerator known as the Trevatron, which has a circumference of 6.86 km. It is no longer operating.
The Trevatron particle accelerator.
Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, New York has a number of different rings that can be seen:
1 The largest ring is the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider.
2. The Alternating Gradient Synchrotron.
3. The National Synchrotron Light Source (circular building just to the right of the marker).
4. The National Synchrotron Light Source II.
Telescopes of various types are also highly visible scientific instruments but we will keep those for another post.
For the locations featured in this post download this KML file.
If you know of any other large scientific instruments clearly visible in Google Earth, let us know in the comments.