GW170817: Observation of gravitational waves from a binary neutron star inspiral

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

On August 17, 2017 at 12∶41:04 UTC the Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo gravitational-wave detectors made their first observation of a binary neutron star inspiral. The signal, GW170817, was detected with a combined signal-to-noise ratio of 32.4 and a false-alarm-rate estimate of less than one per 8.0×104  years. We infer the component masses of the binary to be between 0.86 and 2.26  M⊙, in agreement with masses of known neutron stars. Restricting the component spins to the range inferred in binary neutron stars, we find the component masses to be in the range 1.17–1.60  M⊙, with the total mass of the system 2.74+0.04−0.01M⊙. The source was localized within a sky region of 28  deg2(90% probability) and had a luminosity distance of 40+8−14  Mpc, the closest and most precisely localized gravitational-wave signal yet. The association with the γ-ray burst GRB 170817A, detected by Fermi-GBM 1.7 s after the coalescence, corroborates the hypothesis of a neutron star merger and provides the first direct evidence of a link between these mergers and short γ-ray bursts. Subsequent identification of transient counterparts across the electromagnetic spectrum in the same location further supports the interpretation of this event as a neutron star merger. This unprecedented joint gravitational and electromagnetic observation provides insight into astrophysics, dense matter, gravitation, and cosmology.
Original languageEnglish
Article number161101
Number of pages18
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume119
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - 16 Oct 2017

    Research areas

  • gravitational wave detection, LIGO, general relativity, neutron stars, pulsars, astrophysical studies of gravity

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