Author:Abbott, B. P.; Abbott, R.; Abbott, T. D.; Abernathy, M. R.; Acernese, F.; Ackley, K.; Adams, C.; Adams, T.; Addesso, P.; Adhikari, R. X.; Adya, V. B.; Affeldt, C.; Agathos, M.; Agatsuma, K.; Aggarwal, N.; Aguiar, O. D.; Aiello, L.; Ain, A.; Ajith, P.; Allen, B.; Allocca, A.; Altin, P. A.; Anderson, S. B.; Anderson, W. G.; Arai, K.; Arain, M. A.; Araya, M. C.; Arceneaux, C. C.; Areeda, J. S.; Arnaud, N. ... [more in full view]

Department:Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Physics; Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research; Lincoln Laboratory; Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory

Publisher:American Physical Society

Date Issued:2016-02

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 × 10[superscript -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 5.1σ. The source lies at a luminosity distance of 410[+160 over -180] Mpc corresponding to a redshift z = 0.09[+0.03 over -0.04]. In the source frame, the initial black hole masses are 36[+5 over -4]M[subscript ⊙] and 29[+4 over -4]M[subscript ⊙], and the final black hole mass is 62[+4 over -4]M[subscript ⊙], with 3.0[+0.5 over -0.5]M[subscript ⊙]c[superscript 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.

Citation:Abbott, B. P., R. Abbott, T. D. Abbott, M. R. Abernathy, F. Acernese, K. Ackley, C. Adams, et al. “Observation of Gravitational Waves from a Binary Black Hole Merger.” Physical Review Letters 116, no. 6 (February 11, 2016).