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Gravitational Wave Project Office
Gravitational waves are ripples in spacetime. Their existence had been proved indirectly by radio observations of binary pulsars. On September 14 2015, the LIGO detectors directly observed gravitational waves from the merger of two black holes. This is an enormous achievement, but only the beginning of the entirely new field of gravitational wave astronomy.

We are aiming for direct detection of gravitational waves by development of ground based detectors, such as TAMA300, CLIO, and KAGRA), as well as the space-borne interferometer DECIGO. We are also studying technologies for 3rd generation interferometers .

For Students: Contact us for information. gw-contact@ Add following strings : nao.ac.jp

Last News
2016/05/16: The Special Breakthrough Prize for Fundamental physics awarded for the Detection of Gravitational Waves.
Prof. Flaminio
Dr. Barton
Prof. R. Flaminio
Dr. M. Barton
The Special Breakthrough Prize for Fundamental Physics was awarded for the detection of Gravitational Waves 100 years after Albert Einstein predicted their existence. The LIGO founders Prof. Ronald W.P. Drever, Prof. Kip S. Thorne and Prof. Rainer Weiss and other 1012 scientists who contributed to this discovery will share a 3M$ prize. Two members of NAOJ, the Director of the Gravitational Wave Project Office Prof. Raffaele Flaminio and Dr. Mark Barton, are among the recipients of the prize.
The Special Breakthrough Prize is a series of international awards that honor important, primarily recent, achievements in the categories of Fundamental Physics, Life Sciences and Mathematics.
The prizes were founded by Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, Yuri and Julia Milner, and Jack Ma and Cathy Zhang. Committees of previous laureates choose the winners from candidates nominated in a process that is online and open to the public.
On May 2nd, 2016 the Special Breakthrough Prize for Fundamental Physics was awarded for the detection of gravitational waves that occurred felicitously in the 100th year after Albert Einstein predicted their existence. The LIGO founders Prof. Ronald W.P. Drever, Prof. Kip S. Thorne and Prof. Rainer Weiss and other 1012 scientists who contributed to this major discovery, among which Prof. Raffaele Flaminio and Dr. Mark Barton, will share a 3M$ prize.
Web page of the special breakthrough prize announcement

2016/02/12: On the direct detection of the gravitational waves by LIGO.
Professor Raffaele Flaminio at the Gravitational Wave Project Office of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, one of the authors of the paper that appeared in the Physical Review Letters of the American Physical Society, made the statement.
Details are here.

2016/01/19: Professor. Raffaele Flaminio, was interviewed by NAOJPRC.
Professor. Raffaele Flaminio, was interviewed. "Gravitational waves: use science to understand the Universe and listen to the Universe to understand science."
Details are here.


KAGRA (Large Cryogenic Gravitational Wave Telescope) Project is jointly promoted by Institute for Cosmic Ray Research (ICRR, the main host), National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK) and other member institutes as an international collaboration.
KAGRA Introduction Movie(Japanese)  Copyright : ICRR

Past Topics
2016/01/13: The NAOJ Public Lecture in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the general relativity theory has been held.
On Sunday, December 13th, the NAOJ Public lecture titled "(A challenge beyond space-time) : 100th Anniversary of the General Relativity Theory and Gravitational Wave Astronomy" has been held at the Hitotsubashi-Kodo, where NINS President Katsuhiko Sato and NAOJ Associate Professor Yoichi Aso gave a presentation.
Details are here.(in Japanese)
This Lecture has been given as a part of the "GMUNU100," a series of public lectures celebrating the 100th anniversary since birth of the general relativity theory, sponsored by the JGWC. This series of public lectures will be given in 15 different locations across Japan.
Details are here.(in Japanese, link to Osaka City University)

2015/11/19: KAGRA was introduced by NHK WORLD.
Associate Professor. Yoichi Aso, was interviewed.
Details are here.

2015/11/06: An inauguration ceremony of KAGRA's first phase facility was held on Nov. 6th. Details are here.

2015/10/06: the Nobel prize in Physics 2015
The principal investigator of the KAGRA project, Prof. Takaaki Kajita of ICRR, has been awarded the Nobel prize in Physics 2015 "for the discovery of neutrino oscillations, which shows that neutrinos have mass".

2015/06/08: Specially Appointed Assistant Professor in Gravitational Wave Astronomy (closed on June 1.)
The Gravitational-wave Project Office at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) invites applications for a Specially Appointed Assistant Professor in gravitational-wave astronomy to work on the development and commissioning of the KAGRA project.

2015/04/01: We opened the Kamioka branch
We opened the Kamioka branch of the NAOJ Gravitational Wave Project Office on April 1st to support and promote further the realization of the KAGRA project. Especially, we are planning to start the installation works of the vibration isolation systems developed at the NAOJ as well as some auxiliary optics components such as optical levers. The branch will play a key role in supporting those activities.
The branch is located in a building called Hokubu-Kaikan near the KAGRA site. We would like to thank Hida city for kindly providing us with a room in the building. We are also grateful to the ICRR for their support in realizing this.

2014/10/30: Project Research Fellow in Gravitational Wave Astronomy NAOJ (closed on 15th December, 2014)
The Gravitational-wave Project Office at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) invites applications for Project Research Fellow (postdoctoral position) in gravitational-wave astronomy.

2014/08/08: NAOJ Fellow 2015 (closed on September 15.)
National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) is inviting applications for the positions of NAOJ fellow, in order to encourage highly qualified young researchers to participate in research activities at NAOJ.

2014/08/18: Project Research Fellow in Gravitational Wave Astronomy NAOJ (closed on August 15.)
The Gravitational-wave Project Office at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) invites applications for Project Research Fellow (postdoctoral position) in gravitational-wave astronomy.

2014/07/04: Press conference on the completion of the KAGRA tunnel and a site tour.
On July 4th 2014, we had a press conference to announce this achievement in Kamioka-cho, Hida-city, Gifu prefecture, Japan, with the presence of the president of the University of Tokyo, Junichi Hamada.

2014/07/18: NAOJ Seminar No.875 (Fri. 18 Jul., 16:00 @ Large Seminar Room)
Speaker: Associate professer. Yoichi Aso
Title: Opening a new window to the Universe with KAGRA: How do we do that ?

The second generation interferometric gravitational wave detectors, such as KAGRA, will start observations in the coming years. The unprecedented sensitivity of those detectors is likely to bring us multiple detection of gravitational wave events per year, opening a completely new window to observe the Universe for us. Direct detection of gravitational waves will provide us with rich and unique opportunities to explore physics of extreme conditions such as the test of general relativity under truly strong gravity fields, determination of the equation of state of neutron stars, observation of quasi-normal oscillations of black holes and so on. However, the technical challenges to detect a tiny deformation of the space-time as small as 10^-24 are enormous. In this talk, I will explain how we are trying to achieve such an incredible sensitivity and report the current status of the construction of KAGRA.

2014/03/31: Excavation of KAGRA's Tunnels has been Completed!!
At the end of March 2014, the excavation of the KAGRA tunnels, which span more than 7 km, has been successfully completed.

2014/03/18: BICEP2 project announced on March 17th 2014.
The BICEP2 project announced on March 17th 2014 that they have detected B-mode polarization component in the cosmic microwave background, which is an indication of primordial gravitational waves. If confirmed, this will be a significant evidence for the inflation at the beginning of the Universe. It will also be another kind of evidence for the existence of gravitational wave in addition to Taylor and Hulse's binary pulsar.
KAGRA is a laser interferometric gravitational wave detector trying to detect tiny effects of gravitational waves on the Earth. While the detection principle and targets of KAGRA are vastly different from the CMB B-mode observations, the new result from BICEP2 potentially shows how far we can expand our understanding of the Universe by looking for gravitational waves.

2014/03/11: NAOJ Project Research Fellow in Gravitational Wave Astronomy (closed on April 30.)
The Gravitational‐wave Project Office at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) invites applications for Project Research Fellow (postdoctoral position) in gravitational‐wave astronomy.

2013/12/06: KAGRA's Y-arm tunnel is now complete!!
On December 5, 2013, the team of the Large-Scale Cryogenic Gravitational Wave Telescope, KAGRA, currently under construction 200-meter below the surface of Mt. Ikenoyama in Kamioka, completed the construction of one of the two 3-kilometer tunnels. The workers blasted open approximately halfway of the Y-arm tunnel at 14:30.

2013/12/20: NAOJ Seminar No.852 (Fri. 20 Dec., 16:00 @ Large Seminar Room)
Speaker: Professer. Raffaele Flaminio
Title: Status and perspectives of gravitational wave research

After a few years of data taking with Virgo and initial LIGO, advanced gravitational wave detectors based on laser interferometers are being built in the US (Advanced LIGO), in Europe (Advanced Virgo) and in Japan (KAGRA). These detectors are expected reach their design sensitivity by the end of the decade and to open the field of gravitational wave astronomy. In this talk I will briefly recall the most promising sources of gravitational waves as well as the motivations for pursuing the detection of the signal they emit. I will then recall the principles and the issues involved in the detection of gravitational waves with ground based laser interferometers. The present status of the the detectors development and in particular of the KAGRA project will be described. The last part of the talk will be devoted to the techniques involved in the analysis of the data collected using this kind of detectors, to some of the results obtained with Virgo and initial LIGO and to the perspectives of detection with advanced laser interferometers.

2010/06/22: LCGT Project start! LCGT project was selected one of "Saisentan Kenkyu kiban Zigyo".

2009/10/27: Dr. Yoshihide Kozai, an ex-leader of the TAMA project, was selected as a person who has contributed to culture.

2009/03/26: Renewal of the TAMA project office web pages

2009/01/01: International Year of Astronomy 2009 has started!

International Year of Astronomy Official Page TAMA_logo

Gravitational Wave Project Office /
contact: gw-webmaster@  Add following strings : nao.ac.jp
Last updated 05/16/2016