We report the observation of gravitational waves from a binary-black-hole coalescence during the first two weeks of LIGO’s and Virgo’s third observing run. The signal was recorded on April 12, 2019 at 05∶30∶44 UTC with a network signal-to-noise ratio of 19. The binary is different from observations during the first two observing runs most notably due to its asymmetric masses: a ∼30 M⊙ black hole merged with a ∼8 M⊙ black hole companion. The more massive black hole rotated with a dimensionless spin magnitude between 0.22 and 0.60 (90% probability). Asymmetric systems are predicted to emit gravitational waves with stronger contributions from higher multipoles, and indeed we find strong evidence for gravitational radiation beyond the leading quadrupolar order in the observed signal. A suite of tests performed on GW190412 indicates consistency with Einstein’s general theory of relativity. While the mass ratio of this system differs from all previous detections, we show that it is consistent with the population model of stellar binary black holes inferred from the first two observing runs.
Abbott, R., et al. “GW190412: Observation of a Binary-Black-Hole Coalescence with Asymmetric Masses.” Physical Review D, vol. 102, no. 4, American Physical Society, Aug. 2020, p. 043015, doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.102.043015.
Physical Review D