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Observation of Gravitational Waves from a Binary Black Hole Merger

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      Abstract

      On September 14, 2015 at 09:50:45 UTC the two detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory simultaneously observed a transient gravitational-wave signal. The signal sweeps upwards in frequency from 35 to 250 Hz with a peak gravitational-wave strain of \(1.0 \times 10^{-21}\). It matches the waveform predicted by general relativity for the inspiral and merger of a pair of black holes and the ringdown of the resulting single black hole. The signal was observed with a matched-filter signal-to-noise ratio of 24 and a false alarm rate estimated to be less than 1 event per 203 000 years, equivalent to a significance greater than 5.1 {\sigma}. The source lies at a luminosity distance of \(410^{+160}_{-180}\) Mpc corresponding to a redshift \(z = 0.09^{+0.03}_{-0.04}\). In the source frame, the initial black hole masses are \(36^{+5}_{-4} M_\odot\) and \(29^{+4}_{-4} M_\odot\), and the final black hole mass is \(62^{+4}_{-4} M_\odot\), with \(3.0^{+0.5}_{-0.5} M_\odot c^2\) radiated in gravitational waves. All uncertainties define 90% credible intervals.These observations demonstrate the existence of binary stellar-mass black hole systems. This is the first direct detection of gravitational waves and the first observation of a binary black hole merger.

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      Most cited references 86

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      Gravitational Field of a Spinning Mass as an Example of Algebraically Special Metrics

       Roy Kerr (1963)
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        LIGO: The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory.

        The goal of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) Project is to detect and study astrophysical gravitational waves and use data from them for research in physics and astronomy. LIGO will support studies concerning the nature and nonlinear dynamics of gravity, the structures of black holes, and the equation of state of nuclear matter. It will also measure the masses, birth rates, collisions, and distributions of black holes and neutron stars in the universe and probe the cores of supernovae and the very early universe. The technology for LIGO has been developed during the past 20 years. Construction will begin in 1992, and under the present schedule, LIGO's gravitational-wave searches will begin in 1998.
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          Accurate Evolutions of Orbiting Black-Hole Binaries Without Excision

          We present a new algorithm for evolving orbiting black-hole binaries that does not require excision or a corotating shift. Our algorithm is based on a novel technique to handle the singular puncture conformal factor. This system, based on the BSSN formulation of Einstein's equations, when used with a `pre-collapsed' initial lapse, is non-singular at the start of the evolution, and remains non-singular and stable provided that a good choice is made for the gauge. As a test case, we use this technique to fully evolve orbiting black-hole binaries from near the Innermost Stable Circular Orbit (ISCO) regime. We show fourth order convergence of waveforms and compute the radiated gravitational energy and angular momentum from the plunge. These results are in good agreement with those predicted by the Lazarus approach.
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            Author and article information

            Journal
            2016-02-11
            1602.03837 10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.061102

            http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

            Custom metadata
            LIGO-P150914
            Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 061102 (2016)
            16 pages, 4 figures
            gr-qc astro-ph.HE
            Lvc Publications

            Comments

            added an editorial note to Gravitational Waves

            An important new dicovery that supports a previous theory made by none other than Albert Einstein almost 100 years ago. The gravitational waves represent the warping of space-time caused by the collision of two black holes, more than a billion light years away from Earth. The discovery was made by the LIGO collaboration, and might be one of the most important developments in recent years for science.

            2016-02-15 08:50 UTC
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