Watch: Simulation of Black Hole Collision Rips Spacetime to Shreds

Tuesday, 04 November 2014 - 2:11PM
Astrophysics
Physics
Space Imagery
Tuesday, 04 November 2014 - 2:11PM
Watch: Simulation of Black Hole Collision Rips Spacetime to Shreds

A recent study from Cornell University demonstrated what a merger of two black holes would look like, and it's fairly terrifying.

 

Black Holes

[Credit: Andy Bohn, François Hébert, William Throwe, Darius Bunandar, Katherine Henriksson, Mark A. Scheel, and Nicholas W. Taylor]

 

Black holes on their own warp and distort spacetime so that nothing, not even light, can escape. This distortion is so pronounced in the event horizon of a black hole that paradoxical effects take place, such as an object taking an infinite time to reach the event horizon to an outside observer as a result of gravitational time dilation or the loss of all information about an object aside from its mass, its charge, and its angular momentum. According to the researchers, when two black holes approach each other, their combined gravitational pull sends them speeding towards each other at a significant fraction of the speed of light, which essentially tears holes in spacetime, the fabric of the universe. Watch the full simulation that accompanied the study below:

 

 

[Credit: Andy Bohn, François Hébert, William Throwe, Darius Bunandar, Katherine Henriksson, Mark A. Scheel, and Nicholas W. Taylor]

 

Although there are only two black holes colliding, it appears that there are several black loops as a result of the unique ways black holes bend starlight around them. This is also the cause of the concentric circles of stars that seem to rotate around them, called "Einstein rings"; the stars are actually stationary, but they appear to be moving as a result of the bending, twisting, and spinning of the light around the black holes.

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