GW190521 as a Merger of Proca Stars: A Potential New Vector Boson of 8.7×10-13 eV

Juan Calderón Bustillo, Nicolas Sanchis-Gual, Alejandro Torres-Forné, José A. Font, Avi Vajpeyi, Rory Smith, Carlos Herdeiro, Eugen Radu, Samson H.W. Leong

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Advanced LIGO-Virgo have reported a short gravitational-wave signal (GW190521) interpreted as a quasicircular merger of black holes, one at least populating the pair-instability supernova gap, that formed a remnant black hole of Mf∼142 M⊙ at a luminosity distance of dL∼5.3 Gpc. With barely visible pre-merger emission, however, GW190521 merits further investigation of the pre-merger dynamics and even of the very nature of the colliding objects. We show that GW190521 is consistent with numerically simulated signals from head-on collisions of two (equal mass and spin) horizonless vector boson stars (aka Proca stars), forming a final black hole with Mf=231-17+13 M⊙, located at a distance of dL=571-181+348 Mpc. This provides the first demonstration of close degeneracy between these two theoretical models, for a real gravitational-wave event. The favored mass for the ultralight vector boson constituent of the Proca stars is μV=8.72-0.82+0.73×10-13 eV. Confirmation of the Proca star interpretation, which we find statistically slightly preferred, would provide the first evidence for a long sought dark matter particle.

Original languageEnglish
Article number081101
Number of pages6
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2021

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