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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 79

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          Discovery of a pulsar in a binary system

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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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              Gravitational wave extraction from an inspiraling configuration of merging black holes

              We present new techniqes for evolving binary black hole systems which allow the accurate determination of gravitational waveforms directly from the wave zone region of the numerical simulations. Rather than excising the black hole interiors, our approach follows the "puncture" treatment of black holes, but utilzing a new gauge condition which allows the black holes to move successfully through the computational domain. We apply these techniques to an inspiraling binary, modeling the radiation generated during the final plunge and ringdown. We demonstrate convergence of the waveforms and good conservation of mass-energy, with just over 3% of the system's mass converted to gravitional radiation.
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                Author and article information

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

                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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