GW190521: a binary black hole merger with a total mass of 150  M_{⊙}

LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaboration, R. Abbott, T. D. Abbott, S. Abraham, F. Acernese, K. Ackley, C. Adams, R. X. Adhikari, V. B. Adya, C. Affeldt, M. Agathos, K. Agatsuma, N. Aggarwal, O. D. Aguiar, A. Aich, L. Aiello, A. Ain, P. Ajith, S. Akcay, G. AllenA. Allocca, P. A. Altin, A. Amato, S. Anand, A. Ananyeva, S. B. Anderson, W. G. Anderson, S. V. Angelova, S. Ansoldi, S. Antier, S. Appert, K. Arai, M. C. Araya, J. S. Areeda, M. Arène, N. Arnaud, S. M. Aronson, K. G. Arun, Y. Asali, S. Ascenzi, G. Ashton, S. M. Aston, P. Astone, F. Aubin, P. Aufmuth, K. AultONeal, C. Austin, R. Birney, D. R. Gibson, G. Rutins, D. J. Vine

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On May 21, 2019 at 03:02:29 UTC Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo observed a short duration gravitational-wave signal, GW190521, with a three-detector network signal-to-noise ratio of 14.7, and an estimated false-alarm rate of 1 in 4900 yr using a search sensitive to generic transients. If GW190521 is from a quasicircular binary inspiral, then the detected signal is consistent with the merger of two black holes with masses of 85_{-14}^{+21}  M_{⊙} and 66_{-18}^{+17}  M_{⊙} (90% credible intervals). We infer that the primary black hole mass lies within the gap produced by (pulsational) pair-instability supernova processes, with only a 0.32% probability of being below 65  M_{⊙}. We calculate the mass of the remnant to be 142_{-16}^{+28}  M_{⊙}, which can be considered an intermediate mass black hole (IMBH). The luminosity distance of the source is 5.3_{-2.6}^{+2.4}  Gpc, corresponding to a redshift of 0.82_{-0.34}^{+0.28}. The inferred rate of mergers similar to GW190521 is 0.13_{-0.11}^{+0.30}  Gpc^{-3} yr^{-1}.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101102
Number of pages17
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2020


  • gravitational wave astronomy
  • gravitational wave sources
  • astrophysical black holes
  • compact binary stars
  • gravitational waves
  • gravitational wave detectors


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