EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICS, vol.45, no.2, 2024 (SCI-Expanded)
We give formulas for individual black hole masses in a merger, by using Newtonian physics, in terms of the three measured quantities in the detector: the initial wave frequency f 1, the maximum detected frequency (chirp frequency) f 2, and the time elapse tau between these two frequencies. Newtonian gravity provides an excellent pedagogical tool to understand the basic features of gravitational wave observations, but it must be augmented with the assumption of gravitational radiation from General Relativity for accelerating masses as there is no gravitational wave Newtonian gravity. The simplest approach would be to consider a binary system of two non-spinning masses (two black holes) circling their common center of mass. All the computations can be done within Newtonian physics, but the General Relativistic formula for the power carried by gravitational waves is required in this scheme. It turns out there is a subtle point: for the consistency of this simple, yet pedagogical computation, taking the lowest order power formula from General Relativity leads to complex individual masses. Here we remedy this problem and suggest a way to write down an average power formula coming from perturbative General Relativity.