Scientists achieve 'David and Goliath' black-hole mergers

Written by: Nairita Das
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Washington, Nov 19 (ANI): For the first time ever, scientists at Rochester Institute of Technology have achieved 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.

"Nature doesn't collide black holes of equal masses. 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," said Carlos Lousto.

"Leaders in the field believed solving the 100:1 mass ratio problem would take 5 to 10 more years and significant advances in computational power. It was thought to be technically impossible," he added.

To handle the larger mass ratios, Lousto and colleague Yosef 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.

They used resources at the Texas Advanced Computer Center, home to the Ranger supercomputer, to process the massive computations.

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. (ANI)

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