The Laser Interferometry Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) detects gravitational waves from the surface of Earth. LIGO consists of two observatories in the USA, one in Louisiana and one in Washington.
The SKA is a multi radio telescope project, designed to be built in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Once built, it will have a collecting area of roughly one square kilometre. It will operate over a wide range of frequencies, and it will be 50 times more sensitive than any existing radio telescope. It will be able to survey the sky 10,000 times faster than ever before.
Since 2000, the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) has been operating one of the largest and most sophisticated telescopes in the world at the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii. The Subaru telescope saw first-light (i.e. started observing) early in 1999 and is currently conducting routine research. Along with other observatories around the world, is making many important discoveries about the Universe we live in.
The most powerful telescope on the summit on Mauna Kea is the twin Keck observatory, which has two 10 metre diameter mirrors. At the heart of each Keck Telescope is a revolutionary primary mirror made up of 36 hexagonal segments that effectively work as a single piece of reflective glass. By combining advanced optical and infrared detectors with sophisticated electronics that can combine collected light from both telescopes, the Keck observatory remains amongst the leading astronomical facilities in the world.
The Gemini project is a multi-national partnership of seven countries that has resulted in two identical 8.1 metre telescopes - one on Hawaii's Mauna Kea mountain (Gemini North) and the other on central Chile's Cerro Pachon mountain (Gemini South). As well as the United Kingdom, the others partners in the project are the United States, Canada, Chile, Australia, Brazil and Argentina. Gemini North began taking observations in February 1999, after 10 years of planning.