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Volume rendering of the gravitational radiation generated during the merger of a binary black hole system
Presented Thursday, March 18, 2010
Erik Schnetter (Abstract Presenter)
Werner Benger (Image Author)
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
This image shows a volume rendering of the gravitational radiation generated during the merger of a binary black hole system. The red spheres represent the horizons of the black holes. The colour map shows positive wave amplitudes in yellow/red, negative amplitudes in green/blue.
Black holes are formed in supernova explosions as the final stage in the life of large stars. Much larger "supermassive" black holes are found at the centre of galaxies; their origin is not yet fully understood. In binary systems of black holes, the black holes orbit each other. Their orbit shrinks slowly as the system emits gravitational radiation. In the end, the black holes merge, forming a single black hole in a violent burst of gravitational radiation. Gravitational wave detectors such as LIGO are looking for these signatures, which are likely to be among the strongest sources of gravitational radiation in the universe.
Reporters may freely use this image as long as they include the following credit: "Image courtesy of W. Benger, LSU".
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