Detecting gravitational waves after decades of searching and developing more sensitive techniques is a great achievement, in technology as well as the accompanying analysis.
What a pity the research teams have sullied the discovery by conflating the detection of a very clear gravitational wave signal with their particular interpretation. Doubtless the big signal over milliseconds implies very large condensed masses interacting cataclysmically, inferred to be over 25 solar masses. The event had to be relatively close to us in space to give a signal well above numerous extragalactic ones. The teams apply their model for two ‘black holes’ merging, as if it’s the sole contending explanation. The model merging scale is the Schwarzschild radius MG/c2, not of point-like black holes. Megamassive condensed stars (largely of neutrons) are of this scale too. The rapid merging two of them would generate a similar signal, if with differences in detail. This was dismissed simply on the basis of the out-dated belief that neutron stars can be no bigger than 2 solar masses (Ms).
Einstein himself did not believe in Black Holes; physicists should at least accord him respect in allowing that this first clear gravitational wave event implies the sudden rebalancing of large condensed masses, probably a merging binary – to give his quadrapole emissions – and opens up a way to investigate such structures. The big majority of the gravitational energy pulse comes out from the mutually orbiting stars (rapid, up to ~0.5c) as they become increasing close in last second before becoming one. Open-minds are especially required when black-hole modelling uses a faulty metric, having a non-physical region beyond a ‘surface of separation’, which requires dodgy computational treatments.
The discovery kills off the notion that gravitational energy is non-localised. The observed pulse was tightly constrained in time, ~10ms scale. The pulse moves through space with the speed of light, akin to electromagnetic waves, not through “space-time” as is confusingly said. Both electromagnetic and gravitational equations have wave solutions to small perturbations – travelling waves that carry energy – as Einstein first predicted, though not dipole but of quadrupole order for gravitational waves.
The inference of large compact masses – neutron stars of tens of solar masses – is an indirect discovery of an unrecognised population of mega-stars that are indeed predicted from the Hilbert-Einstein equations of General Relativity. These can be neutron stars above the so-called TOV size limit of 2.0Ms given by Cameron (1959); our modelling given at the recent Moscow PIRT conference (link here) finds higher mass ‘gravastar’ structures, ie. shell-stars of compact matter with centres dominated by hypergravitational fields.