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Observation of Gravitational Waves from a Binary Black Hole Merger




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