The S5 Data Release

Run Overview

  • For full information about the state of the detectors in S5 (2005-2007), see the paper LIGO: The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory.
  • For full information about the noise performance of the detectors in S5, see the paper Sensitivity to Gravitational Waves from Compact Binary Coalescences Achieved during LIGO's Fifth and Virgo's First Science Run: arXiv | DCC.
  • The noise spectrum is a strong function of time, due to commissioning breaks which (mostly) improved the detector performance during S5. See for example Fig 3 of the link above.
  • The data set was publicly released August 27, 2014.

Data Quality

GWOSC data quality categories, or flags, are defined by each working group (CBC, Burst, CW, and Stochastic) for their analyses. For each flag, GWOSC data files contain a corresponding 1 Hz channel that marks times that pass the flag as a "1", and times that fail the flag as a "0". A full list of S5 data quality categories can be seen on the S5 channel definitions page. The details of each category are described in the references linked below. However, as a rough guide:

  • DATA (Data Available): Failing this level indicates that GWOSC data is not available at this time.
  • CAT1 (Category 1): Failing a category 1 data quality check indicates a severe problem with the data. Times that fail CAT1 flags should not be searched for astrophysical signals.
  • CAT2 (Category 2): Failing a category 2 data quality check indicates there was a major instrumental problem at the time of data collection
  • CAT3 (Category 3): Failing a category 3 flag indicates a moderate concern or possible problem at the time of data collection. These are typically linked to times of elevated glitch levels in the data.

In general, data quality levels are defined in a cumulative way: a time which fails a given category automatically fails all higher categories. For example, if the only known problem with a given time fails a burst category 2 flag, then the data is said to pass SCI and BURST_CAT1, but fails BURST_CAT2 and BURST_CAT3.

More information on data quality can be found in these locations:

Data quality category definitions are described in the associated publications. Each paper is also available as a free preprint from

Instrumental Spectral Lines

A PSD of LIGO data typically shows a number of spectral lines. Many of these are associated with known instrumental resonances. See the S5 Instrumental Lines page for details.

Technical Details

GWOSC strain data have been repackaged and downsampled from 16384 Hz to 4096 Hz. More detailed information about the data set can be seen on the Technical Details page.

Hardware Injections

The S5 data set contains simulated astrophysical signals, known as hardware injections, used for testing and calibration. The simulations represent the types of signals sought by each of the four LIGO data analysis working groups. Documentation on working with hardware injections can be seen in the Find a Hardware Injection Tutorial. Complete documentation of these "hardware injections" can be found by following the links below:

Get S5 Data


To acknowledge the use of S5 data, see the Acknowledgement Page.

Data Set DOI: 10.7935/K5WD3XHR