Simulations forecast favorable conditions for verifying Einstein predictions
The gaseous disks of two galaxies collide in this series of images produced in a supercomputer simulation. Approximately three billion years after the collision begins, the two supermassive black holes at the center of the galaxies merge. Such mergers produce strong gravitational waves, which scientists hope to detect with the proposed Laser Interferometer Space Antenna. An international team of scientists led by Stelios Kazantzidis of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics performed the simulations to elucidate the processes that lead to the merger of supermassive black holes and the production of gravitational waves. Credit: Image courtesy of Stelios Kazantzidis
In this image from a supercomputer simulation, gravitational interaction between colliding galaxies generates spectacular tidal tails, plumes and prominent bridges of material connecting the two galaxies. Credit: Image courtesy of Stelios Kazantzidis
A wispy collection of atoms and molecules fuels the vast cosmic maelstroms produced by colliding galaxies and merging supermassive black holes, according to some of the most advanced supercomputer simulations ever conducted on this topic.
"We found that gas is essential in driving the co-evolution of galaxies and supermassive black holes," said Stelios Kazantzidis, a Fellow in the University of Chicagos Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics. He and his collaborators published their in February on astro-ph, an online repository of astronomical research papers. They also are preparing another study.
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