“Second Saturday” Public Tour @ the LIGO Hanford Observatory
Tours include a walking tour of the site, time inside the new LIGO Exploration Center (LExC), and a talk by a staff member. Tours typically last 1.5 hours. Multiple tour times are available for your convenience, please choose the time slot that works best for you when reserving your ticket.
What will I see?
During your visit you will have a chance to explore many interactive and static exhibits now housed in LHO’s new LIGO Exploration Center (LExC). All of the artifacts that used to be in the lobby of LHO’s small reception building are now housed in LExC, including the 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 feat of engineering critical to LIGO’s success. You will also visit the one point on the site where you can see both of the interferometer’s 4km-long arms reaching into the Eastern Washington shrub-steppe. A highlight for many guests is the interferometer’s control room, where you will learn even more about LIGO directly from the people who maintain and operate the world’s most sensitive measuring device. In addition to the tour, a fun and hands-on STEM challenge will be available in the LExC classroom. Questions enthusiastically welcome!
Additional things to note:
- Visitors do not require any special badging to visit LIGO.
- Entry begins 15 minutes before your scheduled tour time.
- The outdoor walking tour lasts about one hour. Guests should dress for the season and wear comfortable walking shoes.
- With the summer heat, we encourage guests to bring water and sun protection.
- Photographs are welcome on site. However, we kindly request that you do not record/video staff members without their permission.
- 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.