LIGO Document P1600161-v16

The basic physics of the binary black hole merger GW150914

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08 Aug 2016, 02:46
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 those features of the signal visible in these data are used, along with only such concepts from Newtonian and General Relativity as are 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 Msun, 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.
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Published in Annalen der Physik, Volume 529, Issue 1-2, January 2017, 1600209
online open access from 4 Oct 2016, DOI: 10.1002/andp.201600209

e-Print: arXiv:1608.01940 [gr-qc]

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