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For details of the data and various conventions used, see this paper on the arXiv. For a less technical discussion, this blog post provides a good introduction.
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Plot: Characteristic Strain Power Spectral Density Energy Spectrum
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Detectors: Pulsar Timing:
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30 September 2016

The Cosmic Explorer sensitivity curve has been added to the plots.

This curve is reproduced from Exploring the Sensitivity of Next Generation Gravitational Wave Detectors; it is the reference curve labelled "Total Noise" in Figure 1. Data for the Cosmic Explorer sensitivity curve is available from the LIGO Document Control Center.

10 March 2016

Custom pulsar timing array. The above plots include the functionality for the user to add their own customised PTA. This is to enable the user to explore the effects of changing the number of pulsars, length and frequency of pulsar observations, and the timing precision of the observations on the sensitivity of the PTA.

To add a custom PTA click on the "New PTA" button on the left hand side of the screen, and a custom PTA detector will appear in the table next to the SKA. Click on the arrow next to the custom PTA label to see a drop down list of options. For details on how the sensitivity is calculated see Estimating the sensitivity of pulsar timing arrays (arXiv:1406.5199)

3 March 2016

The ET sensitivity was updated to a more recent design study. The curve identified as ET-D is now plotted, for details see the ET sensitivity page.

11 February 2016

Advanced LIGO have announced the detection of gravitational waves from a binary black hole coalescence! For more information about GW150914, please see the data release for this event.

The shaded box labelled GW150914 shows the gravitational-wave strain for a GW150914-like signal; specifically, we plot the strain for an optimally orientated binary black hole system with non-spinning components of 35 and 30 solar masses at a redshift of z = 0.1.

For details of the parameters inferred for GW150914's source, see the parameter estimation paper.

21 January 2016

The sources box for Type IA supernovae was added. These sources are distinct from the higher frequency core collapse supernovae which were already plotted. The amplitude of box plotted here corresponds to an optimally orientated Type IA supernovae at 30 kpc (i.e. in the Milky Way). The event rate for Type IA supernovae in this volume is low; a rate of the order 1 in 100 years.

For details on Type IA supernovae as sources of gravitational waves see Neutrino and gravitational wave signal of a delayed-detonation model of type Ia supernovae (arXiv:1511.02542).

17 December 2015

The aLIGO sensitivity curve was updated. We now plot two sensitivity curves, one for the sensitivity during the O1 run (commenced September 2015) and one for design sensitivity. Therefore, the curves plotted here no longer matches that in the companion paper.

Details of the O1 sensitivity may be found in the Observing Scenarios document, it is the curve labelled "early", the data is available from the LIGO Document Control Center.

Details of the design sensitivity may be found in the Advanced LIGO paper (arXiv:1411.4547), it is the curve labelled "zero detuning high power", the data is available from the LIGO Document Control Center.


We thank colleagues from the LIGO Scientific Collaboration including Chris Messenger and Rana Adhikari for useful comments and pointers to updated information.

We would also like to thank Ivo Seitenzahl for a useful discussion concerning type IA supernovae as gravitational wave sources.