Cover: Artist's impression of the Einstein underground telescope, a gravitational wave detector (Source MPI-NIKHEF)

Einstein Telescope, Question Time on the way for Sardinia candidacy

Minister answers at Question Time to the Commission, about strategic-economic importance of having the Einstein Telescope in Sardinian area selected in Italy

The war of interests between the Einstein telescope and the wind farm seems to be going in a more advantageous way. The Minister of University and Research Anna Maria Bernini spoke at the Commission’s Question Time to reassert Italy’s interest for the Einstein Telescope (ET) in the italian candidacy of the Sos Enattos area, in Lula, Sardinia, in the territory of Nuoro.

It has found a tough obstacle against the green energy renewal project (with the other PNRR economic recovery plan), signed three times by former Prime Minister Mario Draghi (and twice rejected by the Commission). Now ET is awaiting the final decision between the Einstein radio telescope or the wind farm, both in the same candidate position.

And now the “plan” has started, EU launched the “technic-economic Feasibility Study” with the European Competition Notice, officially published and announced by INFN Executive Board, coordinating the Telescope Consortium, also signed ETIC. The deadline for submitting bids will be on June 29, 2023.

Cover: Artist's impression of the Einstein underground telescope, a gravitational wave detector (Source MPI-NIKHEF)
Cover: Artist’s impression of the Einstein underground telescope, a gravitational wave detector. Credits: Max Planck Institute-NIKHEF


The Question Time

Last week of April, Responding to the Question Time in the Culture Committee, presented by Chamber members Dalla Chiesa and Pittalis (Forza Italia party), Minister Bernini replied:

“With the PNRR decree-law, we have saved the correct conduct of the process for the building of the Einstein Telescope, guaranteeing priority over further economic activities in the same areas where its plant is planned, including wind farms, which would have constituted a serious alteration of the ecosystem favorable to Italy’s candidacy.”

Minister Bernini
Minister of University and Research Anna Maria Bernini at Question Time (ANSA)
Minister of University and Research Anna Maria Bernini at Question Time. Credits: MiUR

Site Election in 2025

It is an open competition, the one underway between Italy and Netherlands, and destined to continue until 2025 when the site should be selected.

Minister Bernini in visit at Sos Enattos mines with sardinian Governor Solinas (INFN)
Minister Bernini in visit at Sos Enattos mines with Sardinian Governor Solinas. Credits: INFN

“It is an unmissable opportunity for our country and for research”.

wrote on her Facebook profile the Minister of University and Research, Anna Maria Bernini, who visited Lula’s site last March with the governor of Sardinia Christian Solinas, to further confirm the government’s support for the project.

“We have excellence and the area of the former Sos Enattos mines in Lula, Sardinia, which is perfect for hosting the largest gravitational wave telescope in the world. We have all the cards, now it’s up to us to play this game too.” Bernini also wrote.

The Minister of Labor Marina Calderone, visiting Cagliari on April 28, on the day of “Sa die de sa Sardigna’‘, and spoke about an “international project” that puts the island at the center of the astronomical world stage also in view of the employment plan that provides about 36,000 jobs for a 9-year construction plan.

Over the € 50 million financed under the PNRR plan, there are € 300 million more by European Funds Fesr and Fse plus assigned to Sardegna. A side of the € 900 million to reach € 6 billion of financing for the 9-years building and manpower plan.


The Einstein Telescope project

The Einstein Telescope (ET) is a design concept for a third-generation European gravitational wave detector, which will be 10 times more sensitive than current advanced second-generation instruments. 

Like the first two generations of gravitational wave detectors such as LIGO or Virgo, the concept of the ET is based on measuring small changes (much less than the size of an atomic nucleus) in the lengths of two connected arms, about ten kilometers long, stressed by the passage of a gravitational wave. The laser beams in the arms will record their periodic elongation and shrinkage as the brightness changes on a central photodetector. 

Left: Entrance Rampa Tupeddu, now access to the Sar Grav Lab - Right: Technicians arrange detection devices - Credits: INFN
Left: Entrance Rampa Tupeddu, now access to the Sar Grav Lab – Right: Technicians arrange detection devices. Credits: INFN

The Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo, developed by LIGO and Virgo, built until the end of 2015, carried out the first direct detection of gravitational waves and so far have observed something like 90 signals. 

However, these detectors will not be sensitive enough for very precise astronomical studies of gravitational wave sources, and for this new sites are needed.

A multi-detector

The main function of the ET project is to build an observatory that overcomes the limitations of current detection sites by hosting more than one gravitational wave detector. It will consist of three nested detectors, each consisting of two interferometers with arms 10 kilometers long. One interferometer will detect signals from low-frequency gravitational waves (2 to 40 Hz), while the other will detect high-frequency.

The configuration is designed to allow the observatory to evolve, accommodating subsequent upgrades or replacement components that can take advantage of future developments in interferometry and also respond to a variety of scientific objectives.

The Einstein Telescope Project (Credit ETP)
The Einstein Telescope Project. Credits: ETIC

AEI’s role in the Einstein Telescope project

The AEI-Max Planck Institute Hannover is a leading institution in gravitational wave research and is a co-originator of the radio telescope, led by Harald Lück, co-chair of the Commission, and Karsten Danzmann, both members of the managerial committee of the ET. 
Research focuses, as reported on the Max Planck Institute page, on quantum-limited interferometric measurements, laser development, the study of compressed light sorties, and the control and operation of gravitational wave detectors.


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Stefano Mossa

Stefano Mossa

I'm a multi-discipline active: Veterinary doctor with passion for astronomic sciences and sci-fi writer for fun. Administrator of SPF TV Astronomy Channel on You Tube and SPF - Spazio Penultima Frontiera in Facebook. FedarMoss CEO... and a past as Football trainer 27 years career. Now I'm also blogger for Space Voyaging. It's hard for me to stop.

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