Researchers detect evidence of six new binary black hole mergers within LVC data

IAS researchers detect evidence of 6 new binary black hole mergers within LVC data
Matias Zaldarriaga, Professor in the School of Natural Sciences, describes the results of his team's search for new events in the publicly available LIGO data that nearly doubles the catalog of binary black hole mergers. Credit: Lee Sandberg

Scholars at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) recently submitted a paper announcing the discovery of six new binary black hole mergers that exceed the detection thresholds defined by the LIGO-Virgo Collaboration (LVC), the group responsible for the first direct observation of gravitational waves on February 11, 2016.

Taking data made public by the LVC, the IAS team applied a unique set of signal processing techniques to detect these cataclysmic events, nearly doubling the total number of binary black hole mergers found during LVC's second observing run (O2) from 7 to 13. A previous paper by the team, released in March 2019, found one new in addition to the three identified in the original LVC observing run (O1).

By increasing the number of observations, researchers will be better able to understand the formation, specific properties, evolution, and ultimate demise of these systems through the ripples they send across the fabric of spacetime. The team's results also reveal diversity among these systems, from the rate of spin to the direction of spin relative to the orbit.

These discoveries mark the first time that a group outside of the LVC has been able to analyze gravitational wave data to detect binary black hole mergers not previously identified by the LVC. Tejaswi Venumadhav, an author of the paper and Member in the IAS School of Natural Sciences, stated, "We want to be able to use these methods to squeeze the most out of existing data."

LVC recently announced its third observing run (O3), which began on April 1, 2019. In addition to hardware upgrades implemented between observing runs that allow scientists to peer deeper into the universe, the methods pioneered by IAS researchers now provide another vital tool to maximize the return on , while increasing the total observable volume within the universe by a factor of two.

"I think one important consequence of this analysis is that it illustrates the importance of making this type of observational data public. Doing so acknowledges that the broader scientific community can bring significant innovations to the table and that the internal analysis of the data does not mark the end of discovery," stated Barak Zackay, Peter Svennilson Member in the School of Natural Sciences.

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More information: A link to the paper regarding the team's analysis of data from O2 is available here:

The following two papers reflect the team's analysis of data from O1:

Provided by Institute for Advanced Study
Citation: Researchers detect evidence of six new binary black hole mergers within LVC data (2019, April 25) retrieved 23 July 2019 from
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Apr 26, 2019
In the last few days, a lot has happened here.

1) The IAS team announced 6 more black hole binary merger (BB) candidates in O2 data, and has previously announced 1 more in the O1 data.

LIGO/Virgo Collaboration O1 BB candidates 3, IAS 4
LVC O2 BB candidates 7, IAS 13
LVC 02 NN candidates 1

2) Breaking news on the O3 run is a new neutron binary (NN) merger; they also announce a 3d BB event http://blogs.disc...Gkuj7S03

LVC O3 BB candidates 3
LVC O3 NN candidates 1

Optimistic take:
Total BB mergers 20
Total NN mergers 2

Apr 26, 2019
Gravitational waves. Neutron star mergers. Event horizon images. Confirmation of gravitational redshift. And much more. All within the last few years. We live in exciting times. Unless one is a crank, who sees his dogma being destroyed around him.

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