The first binary black-hole merger observed by LIGO

The first binary black-hole merger observed by LIGO

Numerical-relativity simulations of the first binary black-hole merger observed by the Advanced LIGO detector on September 14, 2015.

In 2015 scientists have observed for the first time gravitational waves, arriving at the earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. The gravitational waves were detected on September 14, 2015 at 5:51 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (9:51 a.m. UTC) by both of the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors, located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, USA. The signal was observed for about 0.2 seconds during which it increased both in frequency and amplitude. Its frequency lay between 35 Hz and 250 Hz and it had a peak amplitude (gravitational-wave strain) of 10-21.

The signal matches the predictions of general relativity for those of an inspiral and merger of two black holes with masses of 36 and 29 solar masses, respectively. The black hole resulting from the merger has mass of about 62 solar masses. About 3 times the mass of the sun was converted into gravitational waves in a fraction of a second—with a peak power output about 50 times that of the whole visible Universe. From the observations a distance of about 410 Megaparsecs (1.3 billion light years) to the black hole system was inferred.

The numerical-relativity simulations below show inspiral und merger of the binary black hole system as observed by LIGO.

Note: Publication of these images and movie requires proper credits and written permission. Please contact the in advance of publication or for higher-resolution versions.

The first binary black-hole merger observed by LIGO

This movie and the images show the gravitational waves emitted during inspiral and merger of the black hole binary detected by LIGO.

Copyright:
Numerical relativity simulation: S. Ossokine, A. Buonanno (Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics), Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes project
Scientific Visualisation: W. Benger (Airborne Hydro Mapping GmbH)

This movie shows the first gravitational-wave signal detected by LIGO on September 14, 2015. It's is a numerical simulation of two inspiralling black holes that merge to form a new black hole. Shown are the black hole horizons, the strong gravitational field surrounding the black holes, and the gravitational waves produced.

Simulation of GW150914

This movie shows the first gravitational-wave signal detected by LIGO on September 14, 2015. It's is a numerical simulation of two inspiralling black holes that merge to form a new black hole. Shown are the black hole horizons, the strong gravitational field surrounding the black holes, and the gravitational waves produced.

Images

Numerical relativity simulation of two inspiralling black holes that merge to form a new black hole. Shown are the black hole horizons, the strong gravitational field surrounding the black holes, and the gravitational waves produced.

Copyright:
Numerical relativity simulation: S. Ossokine, A. Buonanno (Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics), Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes project
Scientific Visualisation: W. Benger (Airborne Hydro Mapping GmbH)

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