LSC logo - click to go to LSC homepage


On 23 June 2020, the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration announced the discovery of a gravitational wave binary, GW190814. While one component of this binary is a 23 solar-mass black hole, the other (2.6 solar mass) component could be either a low-mass black hole or a heavy neutron star. This signal was seen in the twin LIGO and Virgo detectors. No electromagnetic counterpart was found.

Publications & Documents

Selected Images & Video

GW190814: heaviest neutron star or lightest black hole?

GW190814: heaviest neutron star or lightest black hole? In August 2019, the LIGO-Virgo gravitational-wave network witnessed the merger of a black hole with 23 times the mass of our sun and a binary companion 2.6 times the mass of the sun. Scientists do not know if the companion was a neutron star or a black hole, but either way it set a record as being either the heaviest known neutron star or the lightest known black hole.
[Image credit: LIGO/Caltech/MIT/R. Hurt (IPAC).]

Masses in the stellar graveyard.

Masses in the stellar graveyard. This graphic shows the masses of black holes detected through electromagnetic observations (purple), black holes measured by gravitational-wave observations (blue), neutron stars measured with electromagnetic observations (yellow), and neutron stars detected through gravitational waves (orange). GW190814 is highlighted in the middle of the graphic as the merger of a black hole and a mystery object (either neutron star or black hole) around 2.6 times the mass of the sun.
[Image credit: LIGO-Virgo/Northwestern U./Frank Elavsky & Aaron Geller]

Simulation of the binary coalescence GW190814. While the nature of the smaller compact object is not known, this visualization is based on the numerical simulation of the coalescence of two black holes with parameters consistent with GW190814. One black hole is 9.2 times more massive than the other, and both objects are non-spinning. The visualization shows the orbiting black holes (left), components of the gravitational radiation pattern (right), and the gravitational waveform (bottom). Still images from the simulation and additional information can be found at this link.
[Credit: N. Fischer, S. Ossokine, H. Pfeiffer, A. Buonanno (Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics), Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) Collaboration]

Audio files simulating the waveform of a binary black hole merger with mass ratio 9:1. The audio is of a simulated waveform with frequency 15 times higher than GW190814 (to improve audibility). Although the frequency shift means the total mass is not equivalent to that of GW190412, the mass ratio, spins, and inclination angle are chosen to be consistent with the inferred parameters of that event. The first file above is for a waveform that does not include higher harmonics of the primary waves, while the second file does.
[Credits: Florian Wicke and Frank Ohme (AEI Hannover, Germany)]

GW190814: heaviest neutron star or lightest black hole?

Artistic rendition of a black hole/neutron star binary. This artist's rendition shows a neutron star (foreground) orbiting a larger black hole (background). The black hole is more distant and appears smaller from this perspective, and shows the effects of gravitational lensing of material accreted from the neutron star. It is not known if the companion of the black hole in GW190814 is a neutron star or a low-mass black hole.
[Image credit: Carl Knox (OzGrav).]

Artistic visualization of GW190814. This visualization shows a compact object (which might be a neutron star or a black hole) being swallowed by a black hole that is 9 times more massive. The matter stream and look of the black hole are artistic interpretations; it is not known if there was any matter or electromagnetic emission associated with GW190814.
[Credit: Alex Andrix]

LVK GW190814 Webinar. This 1hr 12 min webinar held on 25 June 2020 discusses the detection of GW190814 and associated scientific results.
[Credit: LIGO/Virgo]

Find us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter    Follow us on YouTube    Follow us on Instagram