Title

The basic physics of the binary black hole merger GW150914

Authors

B. P. Abbott, California Institute of Technology
R. Abbott, California Institute of Technology
T. D. Abbott, Louisiana State University
M. R. Abernathy, American University
F. Acernese, Università degli Studi di Salerno
K. Ackley, University of Florida
C. Adams, LIGO Livingston
T. Adams, Université Savoie Mont Blanc
P. Addesso, Università degli Studi del Sannio
R. X. Adhikari, California Institute of Technology
V. B. Adya, Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute)
C. Affeldt, Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute)
M. Agathos, FOM-Institute of Subatomic Physics - NIKHEF
K. Agatsuma, FOM-Institute of Subatomic Physics - NIKHEF
N. Aggarwal, LIGO, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
O. D. Aguiar, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais
L. Aiello, Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare - INFN
A. Ain, Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics India
P. Ajith, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai
B. Allen, Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute)
A. Allocca, Università di Pisa
P. A. Altin, The Australian National University
S. B. Anderson, California Institute of Technology
W. G. Anderson, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
K. Arai, California Institute of Technology
M. C. Araya, California Institute of Technology
C. C. Arceneaux, University of Mississippi
J. S. Areeda, California State University, Fullerton
N. Arnaud, Laboratoire de l'Accélérateur Linéaire
K. G. Arun, Chennai Mathematical Institute
S. Ascenzi, Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare - INFN
G. Ashton, University of Southampton
M. Ast, Universität Hamburg

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2017

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.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Annalen der Physik

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