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Simulation of two merging black holes

Simulation of two merging black holes

Date: 17 November 2015
Copyright: C. Reisswig, L. Rezzolla, Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik (Albert-Einstein-Institut/AEI)/ M. Koppitz, Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik (Albert-Einstein-Institut/AEI)/ Zuse-Institut Berlin

This image depicts two black holes that are spiralling around each other and that will eventually merge to form a new black hole. The colours represent quantities related to the gravitational waves emitted from the system.

The image was extracted from a numerical simulation investigating how the strength of the emitted gravitational waves depends on the spin of each of the black holes. The study revealed that the system can lose up to 10% of its mass in gravitational waves.

Gravitational waves are disturbances to the structure of spacetime, produced by some accelerated massive bodies. They have not yet been directly detected, but indirect proof of their existence was found in the late 1970s.

Merging black holes are among the most energetic events in the Universe, and are expected to be one of the strongest sources of gravitational waves.

LISA Pathfinder is paving the way for the detection of gravitational waves from space by testing the technology needed for future missions.

(Update 12 February 2016: high-frequency gravitational waves, emitted by a pair of merging black holes, were directly detected for the first time with the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory.)

Last Update: 1 September 2019
18-Apr-2024 02:01 UT

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