Introduction to LIGO & Gravitational Waves

Continuous Gravitational Waves


Continuous gravitational waves are produced by systems that have a fairly constant and well-defined frequency.  Examples of these are binary star or black hole systems orbiting each other or a single star swiftly rotating about its axis with a large mountain or other irregularity on it.  These sources are expected to produce comparatively weak gravitational waves since they evolve over longer periods of time and are usually less catastrophic than sources producing inspiral or burst gravitational waves.  The sound these gravitational waves would produce is a continuous tone since the frequency of the gravitational wave is nearly constant.

An example signal from a continuous gravitational wave source. [Image: A. Stuver/LIGO]
Example Continuous Waveform

Listen to this continuous signal.

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