The first detections of gravitational waves emitted from binary black hole mergers
California Institute of Technology, 1200 East California Boulevard, Pasadena, CA, 91125, USA
The LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration carried out the inaugural 'O1' observing run from September 12, 2015 through January 19, 2016 using the newly commissioned Advanced LIGO interferometers located in Hanford, WA and Livingston, LA. During the O1 run and the O2 run currently underway, three definitive detections of gravitational waves occurred, each produced during the mergers of binary stellar mass black hole system. A fourth candidate gravitational-wave event was identified, also likely produced from a binary black hole merger. The detected gravitational waveforms allow for the inference of the intrinsic astrophysical parameters of the merging binary systems as well as the resulting black hole produced by the mergers. The first detect detections of gravitational waves confirm the existence of binary black hole systems, and have profound implications for astrophysics using gravitational waves as a new and powerful probe of the universe.