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 Exploring the mysteries of supercooled water
01.03.2017 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht Optical generation of ultrasound via photoacoustic effect
01.03.2017 | American Institute of Physics

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: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A better way to measure the stiffness of cancer cells

01.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Exploring the mysteries of supercooled water

01.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Research team of the HAW Hamburg reanimated ancestral microbe from the depth of the earth

01.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>