An innovative new interactive exhibit is coming to Stafford Air & Space Museum – the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, "Astronomy's New Messengers: Listening to the Universe with Gravitational Waves."

This special exhibit, courtesy of the National Science Foundation and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, will be on view at the Stafford Museum from Friday, July 29 through Friday, Nov. 25 adjoining the Hubble Classroom.

"The LIGO exhibit presents current advances in astronomy," said Tami Martyn, Ph.D., director of the Stafford Air & Space Museum. "The hands-on nature of the exhibit makes this accessible to budding scientists as well as those with more experience with astronomy."

It is open to the public with regular admission during Museum hours, Monday through Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The LIGO Exhibit Open House reception is scheduled with a social hour at 6:30 p.m. in the Stafford Air & Space Museum Apollo Room on Thursday, July 28 followed by a lecture, "The Sounds of Space-Time" at 7 p.m. in the Apollo Room with Marco Cavaglia, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Mississippi, who works directly with LIGO. The public is invited to the Open House and the exhibit will be open for viewing before and after the lecture.

The exhibit, designed by renowned New York-based firm L.H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership (http://skolnick.com/), is an interpretive close-up of more than 800 physicists and astronomers worldwide who have joined together in search of gravitational waves from the most violent astrophysical events in the universe.

Gravitational waves are vibrations in the fabric of space-time caused by colliding black holes, exploding stars and even the big bang itself. To see more about this fantastic exhibit, visit the Website at http://ligo.phy.olemiss.edu/LIGOexhibit/.

Einstein predicted the existence of these gravitational waves in his 1916 General Theory of Relativity, but only now in the 21st Century has technology advanced to enable their detection and study by science.

The LIGO project is a National Science Foundation sponsored project being managed jointly by the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The project has two sensitive laser range finders to detect the vibrations, one in eastern Washington on the U.S. Department of Energy's Hanford Site and the other in Livingston, Louisiana near Louisiana State University.

For more information, call the Stafford Air & Space Museum (580) 772-5871.

Contact: Stafford Air & Space Museum

director@staffordmuseum.com, 580-772-5871