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Astrophysical implications of the binary black hole merger GW150914

Citation

Abbott, BP and Abbott, R and Siellez, K and Zweizig, J, LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaboration, Astrophysical implications of the binary black hole merger GW150914, The Astrophysical Journal. Letters, 818, (2) Article L22. ISSN 2041-8205 (2016) [Refereed Article]


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DOI: doi:10.3847/2041-8205/818/2/L22

Abstract

The discovery of the gravitational-wave (GW) source GW150914 with the Advanced LIGO detectors provides the first observational evidence for the existence of binary black hole (BH) systems that inspiral and merge within the age of the universe. Such BH mergers have been predicted in two main types of formation models, involving isolated binaries in galactic fields or dynamical interactions in young and old dense stellar environments. The measured masses robustly demonstrate that relatively "heavy" BHs (≳25M) can form in nature. This discovery implies relatively weak massive-star winds and thus the formation of GW150914 in an environment with a metallicity lower than about 1/2 of the solar value. The rate of binary-BH (BBH) mergers inferred from the observation of GW150914 is consistent with the higher end of rate predictions (≳1 Gpc-3 yr-1) from both types of formation models. The low measured redshift (z ≃ 0.1) of GW150914 and the low inferred metallicity of the stellar progenitor imply either BBH formation in a low-mass galaxy in the local universe and a prompt merger, or formation at high redshift with a time delay between formation and merger of several Gyr. This discovery motivates further studies of binary-BH formation astrophysics. It also has implications for future detections and studies by Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo, and GW detectors in space.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:gravitational waves, black holes, massive stars, binary black hole merger
Research Division:Physical Sciences
Research Group:Astronomical sciences
Research Field:General relativity and gravitational waves
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the physical sciences
UTAS Author:Siellez, K (Dr Karelle Siellez)
ID Code:152189
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:394
Deposited By:Physics
Deposited On:2022-08-12
Last Modified:2022-08-12
Downloads:0

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