GW151226: observation of gravitational waves from a 22-solar-mass binary black hole coalescence

LIGO Scientific Collaboration, Virgo Collaboration, A. P. Lundgren, Laura Nuttall

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Abstract

We report the observation of a gravitational-wave signal produced by the coalescence of two stellar-mass black holes. The signal, GW151226, was observed by the twin detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) on December 26, 2015 at 03:38:53 UTC. The signal was initially identified within 70 s by an online matched-filter search targeting binary coalescences. Subsequent off-line analyses recovered GW151226 with a network signal-to-noise ratio of 13 and a significance greater than 5σ. The signal persisted in the LIGO frequency band for approximately 1 s, increasing in frequency and amplitude over about 55 cycles from 35 to 450 Hz, and reached a peak gravitational strain of 3.4+0.7−0.9×10−22. The inferred source-frame initial black hole masses are 14.2+8.3− 3.7 M⊙ and 7.5+ 2.3− 2.3M⊙, and the final black hole mass is 20.8+6.1−1.7 M⊙. We find that at least one of the component black holes has spin greater than 0.2. This source is located at a luminosity distance of 44 0+180−190 Mpc corresponding to a redshift of 0.09+0.03−0.04. All uncertainties define a 90% credible interval. This second gravitational-wave observation provides improved constraints on stellar populations and on deviations from general relativity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number241103
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume116
Issue number24
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2016

Keywords

  • RCUK
  • STFC

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