This movie shows a merger of two galaxies(simulation) that forms a single galaxy with two centrally located supermassive black holes surrounded by disks of hot gas. The black holes orbit each other for hundreds of millions of years before they merge to form a single supermassive black hole that sends out intense gravitational waves.

Animation: NASA/CXC/A. Hobart
Simulation: Josh Barnes (U. of Hawaii)/John Hibbard (NRAO)

Binary black holes orbit, lose energy because of gravitational radiation, and finally collide, forming a single black hole; gravitational waveform, spacetime curvature, and orbital trajectories are shown.

At movie top, black holes and orbital trajectory are shown. The middle depicts spacetime curvature, depth indicates curvature of space, colors rate of flow of time and arrows velocity of flow of space. The bottom shows the gravitational waveform with the red line indicating current time.

Binary Black Hole Evolution: Caltech/Cornell Computer Simulation.)

This movies shows the merger of two black holes, shown as cyan spheres, in the last stages of binary evolution. The binary loses energy through the emission of gravitational waves. It shows both polarizations of such waves (blue and red). Notice how the black holes merge into a single distorted black hole, their dynamical horizons forming a spheroid that rings down to Einstein's solution for a single spinning black hole: The Kerr metric.

Dr. Ian Hinder, Albert Einstein Institute

Updated: November 28, 2012 12:39