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October 5, 2012 AT 10:30 am

The Merging of Two Black Holes

These video simulations from Nasa Goddard SFC show what is expected to happen when two black holes trap each other and merge into one. The first video shows what would happen with the accretion disk. The second video is the same experiment, but illustrates as-yet-unobserved ‘graviational’ radiation. Imagine this happening across millions of miles of space! More from Universe Today:

This animation, created with supercomputers at the University of Colorado, Boulder, show for the first time what happens to the magnetized gas clouds that surround supermassive black holes when two of them collide.

The simulation shows the magnetic fields intensifying as they contort and twist turbulently, at one point forming a towering vortex that extends high above the center of the accretion disk.

This funnel-like structure may be partly responsible for the jets that are sometimes seen erupting from actively feeding supermassive black holes.

The simulation was created to study what sort of “flash” might be made by the merging of such incredibly massive objects, so that astronomers hunting for evidence of gravitational waves — a phenomenon first proposed by Einstein in 1916 — will be able to better identify their potential source.

 

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