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GW170104: Observation of a 50-Solar-Mass Binary Black Hole Coalescence at Redshift 0.2

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      Abstract

      We describe the observation of GW170104, a gravitational-wave signal produced by the coalescence of a pair of stellar-mass black holes. The signal was measured on January 4, 2017 at 10:11:58.6 UTC by the twin advanced detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory during their second observing run, with a network signal-to-noise ratio of 13 and a false alarm rate less than 1 in 70,000 years. The inferred component black hole masses are \(31.2^{+8.4}_{-6.0}\,M_\odot\) and \(19.4^{+5.3}_{-5.9}\,M_\odot\) (at the 90% credible level). The black hole spins are best constrained through measurement of the effective inspiral spin parameter, a mass-weighted combination of the spin components perpendicular to the orbital plane, \(\chi_\mathrm{eff} = -0.12^{+0.21}_{-0.30}.\) This result implies that spin configurations with both component spins positively aligned with the orbital angular momentum are disfavored. The source luminosity distance is \(880^{+450}_{-390}~\mathrm{Mpc}\) corresponding to a redshift of \(z = 0.18^{+0.08}_{-0.07}\). We constrain the magnitude of modifications to the gravitational-wave dispersion relation and perform null tests of general relativity. Assuming that gravitons are dispersed in vacuum like massive particles, we bound the graviton mass to \(m_g \le 7.7 \times 10^{-23}~\mathrm{eV}/c^2\). In all cases, we find that GW170104 is consistent with general relativity.

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        Quantum Gravity at a Lifshitz Point

         Petr Horava (2009)
        We present a candidate quantum field theory of gravity with dynamical critical exponent equal to z=3 in the UV. (As in condensed matter systems, z measures the degree of anisotropy between space and time.) This theory, which at short distances describes interacting nonrelativistic gravitons, is power-counting renormalizable in 3+1 dimensions. When restricted to satisfy the condition of detailed balance, this theory is intimately related to topologically massive gravity in three dimensions, and the geometry of the Cotton tensor. At long distances, this theory flows naturally to the relativistic value z=1, and could therefore serve as a possible candidate for a UV completion of Einstein's general relativity or an infrared modification thereof. The effective speed of light, the Newton constant and the cosmological constant all emerge from relevant deformations of the deeply nonrelativistic z=3 theory at short distances.
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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
            2017-06-06
            1706.01812 10.1103/PhysRevLett.118.221101

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

            Custom metadata
            LIGO-P170104
            Phys. Rev. Lett., 118(22):221101, 2017
            28 pages including Supplemental Material, 15 Figures, 5 Tables
            gr-qc astro-ph.HE
            Lvc Publications

            General relativity & Quantum cosmology

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