The basic physics of the binary black hole merger GW150914

B. P. Abbott, S. Jawahar, N.A. Lockerbie, K.V. Tokmakov, LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaboration

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

The first direct gravitational-wave detection was made by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory on September 14, 2015. The GW150914 signal was strong enough to be apparent, without using any waveform model, in the filtered detector strain data. Here, features of the signal visible in the data are analyzed using concepts from Newtonian physics and general relativity, accessible to anyone with a general physics background. The simple analysis presented here is consistent with the fully general-relativistic analyses published elsewhere, in showing that the signal was produced by the inspiral and subsequent merger of two black holes. The black holes were each of approximately 35 Mʘ, still orbited each other as close as ∼350 km apart and subsequently merged to form a single black hole. Similar reasoning, directly from the data, is used to roughly estimate how far these black holes were from the Earth, and the energy that they radiated in gravitational waves. 
Original languageEnglish
Article number1600209
Number of pages17
JournalAnnalen der Physik
Volume529
Issue number1-2
Early online date22 Sep 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2017

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physics
gravitational waves
LIGO (observatory)
relativity
waveforms
detectors
estimates
energy

Keywords

  • Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory
  • gravitational waves
  • black hole merger
  • Newtonian physics
  • relativity
  • GW150914
  • black holes

Cite this

Abbott, B. P., Jawahar, S., Lockerbie, N. A., Tokmakov, K. V., & LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaboration (2017). The basic physics of the binary black hole merger GW150914. Annalen der Physik, 529(1-2), [1600209]. https://doi.org/10.1002/andp.201600209
Abbott, B. P. ; Jawahar, S. ; Lockerbie, N.A. ; Tokmakov, K.V. ; LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaboration. / The basic physics of the binary black hole merger GW150914. In: Annalen der Physik. 2017 ; Vol. 529, No. 1-2.
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Abbott, BP, Jawahar, S, Lockerbie, NA, Tokmakov, KV & LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaboration 2017, 'The basic physics of the binary black hole merger GW150914', Annalen der Physik, vol. 529, no. 1-2, 1600209. https://doi.org/10.1002/andp.201600209

The basic physics of the binary black hole merger GW150914. / Abbott, B. P.; Jawahar, S.; Lockerbie, N.A.; Tokmakov, K.V.; LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaboration.

In: Annalen der Physik, Vol. 529, No. 1-2, 1600209, 31.01.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abbott BP, Jawahar S, Lockerbie NA, Tokmakov KV, LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaboration. The basic physics of the binary black hole merger GW150914. Annalen der Physik. 2017 Jan 31;529(1-2). 1600209. https://doi.org/10.1002/andp.201600209