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

LIGO Scientific Collaboration, Anna Green, Hannah Middleton, Carl-Johan Haster, Edward Thomas, Daniel Töyrä, Serena Vinciguerra, Haoyu Wang, Christopher Berry, Walter Del Pozzo, Will Farr, Andreas Freise, Haixing Miao, Conor Mow-Lowry, Alberto Vecchio, John Veitch, Ilya Mandel, Simon Stevenson, Sebastian Gaebel

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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+8.3−3.7M⊙ and 7.5+2.3−2.3M⊙, and the final black hole mass is 20.8+6.1−1.7M⊙. 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 440+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
Number of pages14
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2016


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