Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Pushing Black-Hole Mergers to the Extreme: RIT Scientists Achieve 100:1 Mass Ratio

19.11.2010
‘David and Goliath’ scenario explores extreme mass ratios (Goliath wins)

Scientists have simulated, for the first time, the merger of two black holes of vastly different sizes, with one mass 100 times larger than the other. This extreme mass ratio of 100:1 breaks a barrier in the fields of numerical relativity and gravitational wave astronomy.

Until now, the problem of simulating the merger of binary black holes with extreme size differences had remained an unexplored region of black-hole physics.

“Nature doesn’t collide black holes of equal masses,” says Carlos Lousto, associate professor of mathematical sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology and a member of the Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation. “They have mass ratios of 1:3, 1:10, 1:100 or even 1:1 million. This puts us in a better situation for simulating realistic astrophysical scenarios and for predicting what observers should see and for telling them what to look for.

“Leaders in the field believed solving the 100:1 mass ratio problem would take five to 10 more years and significant advances in computational power. It was thought to be technically impossible.”

“These simulations were made possible by advances both in the scaling and performance of relativity computer codes on thousands of processors, and advances in our understanding of how gauge conditions can be modified to self-adapt to the vastly different scales in the problem,” adds Yosef Zlochower, assistant professor of mathematical sciences and a member of the center.

A paper announcing Lousto and Zlochower’s findings was submitted for publication in Physical Review Letters.

The only prior simulation describing an extreme merger of black holes focused on a scenario involving a 1:10 mass ratio. Those techniques could not be expanded to a bigger scale, Lousto explained. To handle the larger mass ratios, he and Zlochower developed numerical and analytical techniques based on the moving puncture approach—a breakthrough, created with Manuela Campanelli, director of the Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation, that led to one of the first simulations of black holes on supercomputers in 2005.

The flexible techniques Lousto and Zlochower advanced for this scenario also translate to spinning binary black holes and for cases involving smaller mass ratios. These methods give the scientists ways to explore mass ratio limits and for modeling observational effects.

Lousto and Zlochower used resources at the Texas Advanced Computer Center, home to the Ranger supercomputer, to process the massive computations. The computer, which has 70,000 processors, took nearly three months to complete the simulation describing the most extreme-mass-ratio merger of black holes to date.

“Their work is pushing the limit of what we can do today,” Campanelli says. “Now we have the tools to deal with a new system.”

Simulations like Lousto and Zlochower’s will help observational astronomers detect mergers of black holes with large size differentials using the future Advanced LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) and the space probe LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna). Simulations of black-hole mergers provide blueprints or templates for observational scientists attempting to discern signatures of massive collisions. Observing and measuring gravitational waves created when black holes coalesce could confirm a key prediction of Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

Note: For short movies depicting the merger of black holes with a 100:1 mass ratio, go to http://spiegel.cs.rit.edu/~hpb/H2o/H2o_movies/h2o_with_timeLine_and_zoom.mov or http://spiegel.cs.rit.edu/~hpb/H2o/H2o_movies/h2o_with_timeLine_and_hobble.mov.

These movies display the computed horizons of large and small black holes immediately prior to their final merger and the aftermath. The oscillations induced by the small black hole falling into its companion are depicted. At the moment of merger, the large black hole’s radius increases with the absorption of the smaller mass.

Credit: Simulation by Carlos Lousto and Yosef Zlochower. Visualization by Hans-Peter Bischof at the Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Susan Gawlowicz | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rit.edu
http://www.rit.edu/news/pics/extreme_ratio.jpg

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Electrocatalysis can advance green transition
23.01.2017 | Technical University of Denmark

nachricht Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin
23.01.2017 | Ferdinand-Braun-Institut Leibniz-Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis

23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Electrocatalysis can advance green transition

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>