The LIGO, Virgo, and KAGRA scientific collaborations are closely coordinating in order to begin the O4 Observing Run together and have today announced that, despite local and global adversities, they plan to start the run in mid-December, 2022.
LIGO has a sensitivity goal of 160-190 Mpc for binary neutron stars. Virgo aims for a target sensitivity of 80-115 Mpc. KAGRA should be running with greater than 1 Mpc sensitivity by the beginning of O4 and will work to improve the sensitivity toward the end of the run.
“Even if the pandemic is having different impacts on the detector sites“, said Alessio Rocchi, LIGO-Virgo-KAGRA Joint Run Planning Committee co-chair, “the LIGO, Virgo, and KAGRA collaborations have been working together to start the O4 Observing run at the same time. We believe this is the best strategy to maximise the science outcome of the run and the chances for multimessenger observations.”
“Despite the difficulties due to the pandemic, last spring we were able to complete the installation of the Advanced Virgo+ Phase I“, stated Raffaele Flaminio, Advanced Virgo+ project leader. “Among several upgrades, Phase I involved the installation of a more powerful laser, the reconfiguration of the interferometer to enhance its bandwidth and the implementation of an additional 300m-long optical cavity to reduce the effect of quantum fluctuations. Since then, we have begun the commissioning of the detector and we plan to be ready to restart data taking in one year from now.“