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ABSTRACT
On September 14, 2015 at 09:50:45 UTC the two detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory simultaneously observed a transient gravitational-wave signal. The signal sweeps upwards in frequency from 35 to 250 Hz with a peak gravitational-wave strain of 1.0×10−21. It matches the waveform predicted by general relativity for the inspiral and merger of a pair of black holes and the ringdown of the resulting single black hole. The signal was observed with a matched-filter signal-to-noise ratio of 24 and a false alarm rate estimated to be less than 1 event per 203 000 years, equivalent to a significance greater than 5.1σ. The source lies at a luminosity distance of 410+160−180 Mpc corresponding to a redshift z=0.09+0.03−0.04. In the source frame, the initial black hole masses are 36+5−4M⊙ and 29+4−4M⊙, and the final black hole mass is 62+4−4M⊙, with 3.0+0.5−0.5M⊙c2 radiated in gravitational waves. All uncertainties define 90% credible intervals. These observations demonstrate the existence of binary stellar-mass black hole systems. This is the first direct detection of gravitational waves and the first observation of a binary black hole merger.

Received 21 January 2016
DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.061102

This article is available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the published article’s title, journal citation, and DOI.

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