Astrophysics (Index)About

gravitational wave background

(GWB, GW background, stochastic background)
(combination of weak gravitational waves such as from distant sources)

The gravitational wave background (GWB, or GW background or in context, stochastic background) is the ongoing low-level random gravitational wave signal that is the combination of signals from sources too weak and/or distant to stand out from the rest. This signal is of interest in its own right as it reveals levels of activity throughout the universe and could further-confirm the general theory, and is also of interest in trying to separate it from individual signals that might be detected.

Regarding interest in the signal itself, observation of the background may say something about the frequency of the events that have been detected, e.g., black hole mergers and neutron star mergers, and may also say something about the mass distribution across the universe and its history, which are of cosmological interest. Like the CMB, any anisotropy is of much interest.

Further reading:

Referenced by pages:
cosmic background radiation (CBR)
gravitational wave (GW)
GW detection (GW)
gravitational wave spectrum
Hellings and Downs curve
pulsar timing array (PTA)