GW190521: a binary black hole merger with a total mass of 150 M

The LIGO Scientific Collaboration, G. S. Davies, O. Edy, I. W. Harry, D. Keitel, A. P. Lundgren, R. Macas, C. McIsaac, S. Mozzon, L. K. Nuttall

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On May 21, 2019 at 03:02:29 UTC Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo observed a short duration gravitational-wave signal, GW190521, with a three-detector network signal-to-noise ratio of 14.7, and an estimated false-alarm rate of 1 in 4900 yr using a search sensitive to generic transients. If GW190521 is from a quasicircular binary inspiral, then the detected signal is consistent with the merger of two black holes with masses of 85+21−14M and 66+17−18M (90 % credible intervals). We infer that the primary black hole mass lies within the gap produced by (pulsational) pair-instability supernova processes, and has only a 0.32 % probability of being below 65M. We calculate the mass of the remnant to be 142+28−16M, which can be considered an intermediate mass black hole (IMBH). The luminosity distance of the source is 5.3+2.4−2.6 Gpc, corresponding to a redshift of 0.82+0.28−0.34. The inferred rate of mergers similar to GW190521 is 0.13+0.30−0.11Gpc−3yr−1.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101102
Number of pages17
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number10
Early online date2 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sept 2020


  • gr-qc
  • astro-ph.HE
  • RCUK
  • STFC


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