OK, so a "black hole merger"... interesting. But there's more.
ANALYSIS: Advanced LIGO Resumes Quest for Gravitational Waves
"They claim that the two detectors detected it consistent with it moving at speed c given the distance between them, and quote an equivalent 5.1 sigma detection," he continues. "The bh masses were 36 and 29 solar masses initially and 62 at the end. Apparently the signal is spectacular and they even see the ring-down to kerr at the end."
Burgess closes with: "Woohoo! (I hope)"
The news (like previous rumors) focuses around the powerful Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), which was upgraded in September 2015 to detect the hypothesized minuscule spacetime warping caused by gravitational waves. LIGO, which consists of 2 stations on opposite sides of the US, is finely tuned to detect the propagation of gravitational waves through our local volume of space.
ANALYSIS: Colliding Black Holes and the Dawn of Gravitational Astronomy
From Burgess' message we can grasp some of the physics he is describing. If (IF!) the rumors are true, the twin LIGO stations (located in Louisiana and Washington) have detected the same gravitational wave signal - with the time delay expected between the 2 stations. That signal, traveling at the speed of light ("c"), carries with it information of the phenomenon that is creating the waves. Burgess also mentions that the signal has a statistical significance of 5.1 sigma, which exceeds the criteria for the signal being real - it is therefore a solid discovery. He also points out that the paper in question will be published by the journal Nature on Feb. 11 (Thursday), coinciding with the National Science Foundation's meeting on the same day.