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This image shows a computer-generated binary system of black holes orbiting around one another just before they merge.
The density of the accretion of hot gasses flowing into the black holes is indicated by brighter colors in the image. Density wakes trail like tails from the black holes and a bright area of luminous gas lies between them. The trailing wakes and the gaseous area between the black holes are the regions most responsible for their radiation emissions.
Being able to observe the emission of radiation and corresponding gravitational waves provides a unique opportunity to connect the properties of the binary system with the physical characteristics of the interacting gas.
Computations carried out on Teragrid clusters and the FoRCE Research Computing Environment cluster at Georgia Tech.
Image credit: Tanja Bode of Georgia Tech
Support for this work comes in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF).