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Apjlab960ff1 hr.jpg
Time–frequency representations (Chatterji et al. 2004) of data containing GW190814, observed by LIGO Hanford (top), LIGO Livingston (middle), and Virgo (bottom). Times are shown relative to 2019 August 14, 21:10:39 UTC. Each detector's data are whitened by their respective noise amplitude spectral density and a Q-transform is calculated. The colorbar displays the normalized energy reported by the Q-transform at each frequency. These plots are not used in our detection procedure and are for visualization purposes only.
InstrumentLIGO, Virgo[1][2]
Right ascension??h ??m ??.??s
Declination−??° ??′ ??.?″
Distance241 megaparsecs (790 Mly)[1]
Other designationsGW190814
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GW 190814 was a gravitational wave (GW) signal observed by the LIGO and Virgo detectors on 14 August 2019 at 21:10:39 UTC,[2] and having a signal-to-noise ratio of 25 in the three-detector network.[1] The signal was associated with the astronomical superevent S190814bv, located 790 million light years away, in location area 18.5 deg2[n 1][1][3][4] towards Cetus or Sculptor.[5][6][7][8][9][10] No optical counterpart was discovered despite an extensive search of the probability region.[11]


Simulated example of two black holes merging.

In June 2020, astronomers reported details of a compact binary merging, in the "mass gap" of cosmic collisions, of a first-ever 2.50–2.67 M "mystery object", either an extremely heavy neutron star (that was theorized not to exist) or a too-light black hole, with a 22.2–24.3 M black hole, that was detected as the gravitational wave GW190814.[1][12]

"We don't know if this object is the heaviest known neutron star or the lightest known black hole, but either way it breaks a record."

— Vicky Kalogera, professor at Northwestern University.[13]

The mass of the lighter component is estimated to be 2.6 times the mass of the Sun (M1.9891×1030 kg), placing it in the aforementioned mass gap between neutron stars and black holes.[1][13][14][15][16][17]

Despite an intensive search, no optical counterpart to the gravitational wave was observed. The lack of emitted light could be consistent with either a situation in which a black hole entirely consumed a neutron star or the merger of two black holes.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The relatively large and distant area of the sky within which it is claimed to be possible to localize the source.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Abbott, R.; et al. (23 June 2020). "GW190814: Gravitational Waves from the Coalescence of a 23 Solar Mass Black Hole with a 2.6 Solar Mass Compact Object". The Astrophysical Journal Letters. 896 (2): L44. arXiv:2006.12611. Bibcode:2020ApJ...896L..44A. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/ab960f.
  2. ^ a b Staff (2020). "GW190814 Factsheet - Lowest mass ratio to date - Strongest evidence of higher order modes" (PDF). LIGO. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  3. ^ Greco, G.; et al. (2020). "Handling gravitational-wave sky maps for EM-followUP observations - Second ASTERICS Virtual Observatory School" (PDF). Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  4. ^ Berry, Christopher (10 August 2018). "Sky-localization of Gravitaional wave observations". Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  5. ^ Staff (14 June 2019). "GraceDB - Gravitational-Wave Candidate Event Database - Superevent Info". LIGO. Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  6. ^ Staff (23 June 2020). "Black hole or neutron star? - LIGO-Virgo scientists find mystery object in 'mass gap'". Pennsylvania State University. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  7. ^ Starr, Michelle (16 August 2019). "Early Reports Indicate We May Have Detected a Black Hole And Neutron Star Collision". Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  8. ^ Mandelbum, Ryan F. (26 August 2019). "Mystery Deepens Around Newly Detected Ripples in Space-Time". Gizmodo. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  9. ^ Starr, Michelle (11 February 2020). "First Papers on The Black Hole-Neutron Star Merger Are In. Here's What We Didn't See". Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  10. ^ Ackley, K.; et al. (5 February 2020). "Observational constraints on the optical and near-infrared emission from the neutron star-black hole binary merger S190814bv". arXiv:2002.01950v1 [astro-ph.SR].
  11. ^ Staff (25 June 2020). "GW190814 Sheds Light on Mass Gap between Neutron Stars and Black Holes". Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  12. ^ Staff (23 June 2020). "GW190814". LIGO Scientific Collaboration. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  13. ^ a b Staff (24 June 2020). "Black hole or neutron star? - LIGO-Virgo scientists find mystery object in 'mass gap'". Pennsylvania State University. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  14. ^ a b University of Birmingham (23 June 2020). "Gravitational wave scientists grapple with the cosmic mystery of GW190814". EurekAlert!. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  15. ^ Overbye, Dennis (24 June 2020). "A Black Hole's Lunch Provides a Treat for Astronomers - Scientists have discovered the heaviest known neutron star, or maybe the lightest known black hole: "Either way it breaks a record."". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  16. ^ Starr, Michelle (24 June 2020). "Astronomers Detect First-Ever Mystery Object in The 'Mass Gap' of Cosmic Collisions". Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  17. ^ Cho, Adrian (24 June 2020). "Gravitational waves reveal lightest black hole ever observed". Science. Retrieved 25 June 2020.

External links[edit]