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Physics Colloquium

Thursday, November 21, 2019
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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East Bridge 201 (Richard P. Feynman Lecture Hall)
Detecting Gravitational Waves Using the public LIGO-VIRGO data: Doubling the sample of Binary Black Hole Mergers
Barak Zackay, IAS,

The LIGO-VIRGO data presents a magnificent opportunity for exploring the uncharted territory of binary compact objects.
We have developed an independent analysis pipeline for analyzing the public LIGO-VIRGO data from the first two observing runs. We have developed several novel techniques, and revisited all the choices essential for such an analysis. The resulting improvement (comparing to the LIGO-VIRGO official analysis) amounts to doubling the probed volume for binary black holes, and as a result, doubled the sample of detected events.

Among the newly discovered events are:
An event (GW170121) with substantial negative effective spin,
An event (GW151216) with maximal effective spin, inconsistent with dynamical formation.
An event (GW170817A) with source frame total mass of about a hundred solar masses, constraining the existence of any potential upper mass cutoffs.
Last, I will mention also GWC170402, potentially a very interesting signal, showing solid signs for the expression of higher modes, for which a full coherent GR solution that fits the signal is still lacking.