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Observation of Gravitational Waves from Two Neutron Star–Black Hole Coalescences
By Abbott et al
Published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters 915, L5 (Tuesday, June 29, 2021)


We report the observation of gravitational waves from two compact binary coalescences in LIGO's and Virgo's third observing run with properties consistent with neutron star–black hole (NSBH) binaries. The two events are named GW200105_162426 and GW200115_042309, abbreviated as GW200105 and GW200115; the first was observed by LIGO Livingston and Virgo and the second by all three LIGO–Virgo detectors. The source of GW200105 has component masses $8.{9}_{-1.5}^{+1.2}$ and $1.{9}_{-0.2}^{+0.3}\,{M}_{\odot }$, whereas the source of GW200115 has component masses $5.{7}_{-2.1}^{+1.8}$ and $1.{5}_{-0.3}^{+0.7}\,{M}_{\odot }$ (all measurements quoted at the 90% credible level). The probability that the secondary's mass is below the maximal mass of a neutron star is 89%–96% and 87%–98%, respectively, for GW200105 and GW200115, with the ranges arising from different astrophysical assumptions. The source luminosity distances are ${280}_{-110}^{+110}$ and ${300}_{-100}^{+150}\,\mathrm{Mpc}$, respectively. The magnitude of the primary spin of GW200105 is less than 0.23 at the 90% credible level, and its orientation is unconstrained. For GW200115, the primary spin has a negative spin projection onto the orbital angular momentum at 88% probability. We are unable to constrain the spin or tidal deformation of the secondary component for either event. We infer an NSBH merger rate density of ${45}_{-33}^{+75}\,{\mathrm{Gpc}}^{-3}\,{\mathrm{yr}}^{-1}$ when assuming that GW200105 and GW200115 are representative of the NSBH population or ${130}_{-69}^{+112}\,{\mathrm{Gpc}}^{-3}\,{\mathrm{yr}}^{-1}$ under the assumption of a broader distribution of component masses.