The University of Western Australia

Department of Physics

Australian International Gravitational

Research Centre

Australian International Gravitational Observatory


Aerial view of AIGO

The AIGRC is a member of the Australian Consortium for Interferometric Gravitational Astronomy (ACIGA) which includes The University of Western Australia, The Australian National University, The University of Adelaide, CSIRO Lindfield and Monash University. The University of Western Australia, in partnership with ACIGA, is establishing AIGO on the Wallingup Plain, 85km north of Perth.  Detailed "Mud Map" to AIGO.  Instructions to AIGO.

Map showing position of AIGO in relation to Perth

AIGO is situated in pristine banksia bushland on the sand plain of Wallingup Plain which is designated State Forest No. 65. Construction was completed in October 1999 and the installation of equipument and vacuum pipes should be completed by February 2000. The above picture is an aerial view of the facility taken in September 1999. It shows the main cornerstation consisting of the main laboratory (20m x 20m x 10m high) constructed from coolroom panels and surrounded on two sides by a workshop, clean down areas, meeting room, kitchen and accommodation units. The end stations are ~80m south and east of the cornerstation. The large northern window has a specially designed sun hood to allow sun to enter the main laboratory during winter but not during the heat of summer. Positive air pressure is maintained in the main laboratory to maintain a clean room atmosphere and this is supplied by an innovative air conditioning system which uses the cold temperatures of the ground water for cooling.

Information on the first stage of AIGO can be found in the paper "The First Stage of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory". Further stages to extend the arms and improve sensitivity will be occur as funding allows.

For pictures of the AIGO end stations and the interior of the cornerstation  click here.

The first stage of AIGO (the cornerstation, endstations and facilities housing the Advanced Research Interferometer) was opened by the Premier of Western Australia, the Hon. R. Court,  on 10 March 2000. The opening was held in conjunction with lectures by visiting distinguished physicists, Professor B. Barish (Director of LIGO, USA), Professor A. Giazotto (Director, VIRGO, Italian/French collaboration) and Professor R. Ruffini (President, International Center for Relativistic Astrophysics - part of UNESCO, University of Rome) under the auspices of the Institute of Advanced Studies of The University of Western Australia.

With Professor.G. Stewart, Executive Dean, Faculty of Science, UWA, as Master of Ceremonies, the following speakers were included in the program:
Professor D. Schreuder, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, UWA
The Hon Richard Court MLA, Premier of Western Australia
The Hon. Ms. Moylan MP
Ms. Alannah MacTiernan representing Dr. G. Gallop, Leader of the W.A. State Opposition
Mr. G. Morton, President, Shire of Gingin
Mr. R. Bropho, Aboriginal Elder
Mr. K. Cameron, Aboriginal Elder
Professor B. Barish (Director, LIGO, USA)
Professor A. Giazotto (Director, VIRGO Project, INFN, Italy)
Professor R. Ruffini (Director, ICRA)
Dr. D. McClelland (ACIGA Chairman and ANU projects)
Professor J. de Laeter,  Chairman Gravity Discovery Centre Steering Committee
Professor D.G. Blair

Unfortunately, Dr. M. Washer, MP and Professor J. Munch, University of Adelaide, were unavailable to speak.

At the completion of speeches the plaque commemorating the opening was 'revealed' by the Premier who cut a ribbon to release a pendulum which, on the second swing, knocked over a weight.  The falling weight set off an explosion of streamers and, at the same time, a copy of the black hole art work sprung up to reveal the plaque.

The event has also been commemorated by an original piece of art work by Torres Strait Islander artist, Julie Weekes, which has also been used in the production of colorful t-shirts.  T-shirts can be ordered from JayJay at a cost of $25 plus postage.

The speeches and revealing of the plaque was followed by a tour of the laboratory, its equipment, facilities and displays.

Pictures of the Opening can be viewed by clicking here.

Use of the Facility: researchers in other disciplines as well as physics are welcome to use the facility. AIGO has accommodation units, complete kitchen facilities, meeting room and workshop. Of particularly interest is the pristine natural bushland surrounding the facility. Please contact Prof. D.G. Blair for further information.

For background information a Prospectus has been prepared giving background information on gravity waves, gravitational wave observatories being constructed world wide and on AIGO in particular.

Contact details:
A.I.G.R.C., Department of Physics, The University of Western Australia, Nedlands, W.A. 6907, Australia. Tel: +61.8.9380.2736 Fax: +61.8.9380.1170 e-mail: