Observation of Gravitational Waves from a Binary Black Hole Merger

Condensed Matter journal club

Observation of Gravitational Waves from a Binary Black Hole Merger

  • Event time: 11:30am
  • Event date: 19th February 2016
  • Speaker: (School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Edinburgh)
  • Location: Room 2511,

Event details


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 gravitation-l-wave strain of 1.0x10-21. 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 203000 years, equivalent to a significance greater than 5.1σ. The source lies at a luminosity distance of 410+160-180Mpc corresponding to a redshift 𝑧 = 0.09+0.03-0.04. In the source frame, the initial black hole masses are 36+5-4M and 29+4-4M, and the final black hole mass is 62+4-4M, with 3.0+0.5-0.5 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.
PRL 116 article 061102 (2016)
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B.P. Abbott et al. (LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaboration)