Binary Black Holes Do a Gravitational Dance #SpaceSaturday

Now that astrophysicists have a look for black holes, all sorts of new visualizations are coming into play. Here is an animation from NASA Goddard of a pair of black holes millions of times the Sun’s mass in a gravitational dance. Here’s more from NASA Goddard:

Viewed from near the orbital plane, each accretion disk takes on a characteristic warped look. But as one passes in front of the other, the gravity of the foreground black hole transforms its partner into a rapidly changing sequence of arcs. These distortions play out as light from the accretion disks navigates the tangled fabric of space and time near the black holes. The simulated binary contains two supermassive black holes, a larger one with 200 million solar masses and a smaller companion weighing half as much. Astronomers think this kind of black hole system is one in which both members could maintain a long-lived accretion disk.

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