Gravitational waves

More about gravitational waves, how they are produced and how they will hopefully be detected: a survey of current detectors, how to make gravitational waves audible, the space-borne detector LISA, Einstein@Home

This page features an overview of all our “Spotlights on relativity” dealing with gravitational waves. There is a spotlight text explaining the wave’s Basic properties, and a text in the category Gravitational wave sources which deals with ways of making gravitational waves audible; the texts under the heading Detecting Gravitational Waves describe the experiments to measure gravitational waves directly. Also, there is a text describing one of the Cosmological applications of gravitational waves.

Useful background information on gravitational waves can be found in our introduction Elementary Einstein, especially in the chapter Gravitational waves.

Basic properties

The wave nature of simple gravitational waves

A closer look at the way that simple gravitational waves propagate through space with time

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Gravitational wave sources

First measurement of gravitational waves of colliding neutron stars

Not only merging black holes, but also neutron star pairs emit gravitational waves.

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The first catalogue of cosmic collisions

From the data of the first two observation runs of LIGO and Virgo, the scientists have created a first catalogue of cosmic collisions. The catalogue contains gravitational wave signals from ten pairs of merging black holes and one pair of neutron stars.

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Chirping neutron stars

For some gravitational wave signals, one can go beyond graphs and animations – they can be made audible

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White Dwarf binaries as gravitational wave sources

White Dwarf binaries, their properties, and the role they will play for the planned space-borne gravitational wave detector LISA.

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Detecting gravitational waves

More about gravitational wave detectors on earth and in space

Listening posts around the globe

Overview of the gravitational wave detectors currently operational, or under construction

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Catching the wave with light

Some information on how interferometric detectors such as LIGO or GEO600 work

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Small vibrations

Some information on how the vintage models among gravitational wave detectors work – resonant detectors

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LISA – Hunting waves in space

Information about the latest version of the most ambitious gravitational wave project – a detector in space

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Observation of Gravitational Waves from a Binary Black Hole Merger

Albert Einstein predicted their existence back in 1916, and on 14 September 2015 they were directly detected for the first time: Gravitational waves. Two large interferometric detectors of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration with major contributions from German researchers detected the signal known as “GW150914”. The waves originate from the merger of two black holes and are the first direct observation of these exotic objects.

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Cosmological applications

Of gravitational waves and spherical chickens

Information about a class of simple model universes, each an expanding cosmos filled with gravitational waves

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