LIGO Document G1000485-v4

Gravitational Wave Searches with LIGO and Virgo: Continuous Waves and Stochastic Backgrounds

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Kilometer-scale interferometric gravitational wave detectors are currently operating at or beyond their design sensitivity in the USA (LIGO Hanford Observatory in Washington State and LIGO Livingston Obervatory in Louisiana) and Europe (Virgo, in Italy). I will describe analyses carried out by the LSC and Virgo to search for long-lived gravitational wave signals (both periodic and stochastic) in LIGO and Virgo data. Periodic continuous waves are emitted by rotating neutron stars, and searches for these include targeted searches for known pulsars, directed searches for neutron stars with unknown rotation parameters, and all-sky searches for unknown neutron stars. Random stochastic backgrounds can arise from cosmological phenomena or from a superposition of unresolved astrophysical signals. Stochastic background searches target isotropic backgrounds, isolated random signals coming from points on the sky, and backgrounds whose sky distribution is described by multiple spherical harmonic components. I will summarize LSC/Virgo results to date, some of which have begun to probe regimes beyond the indirect gravitational-wave limits arising from constraints such as pulsar spindown rates and big-bang nucleosynthesis.
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