Two Black Holes Collide Merge

Astrophysicists predict gravitational wave strength from merged supermassive black holes

Two black holes collide

An artist’s impression of two black holes about to collide and merge.

Gravitational waves are ripples in the curvature of space-time caused by accelerated masses that propagate as waves at the speed of light outward from their source. Even if you do not need a giant object to create gravitational waves, our instruments can only detect those generated by extreme acceleration of very massive objects, such as black-hole binary orbit.

A solid black hole sits at the center of most galaxiesFor example Sagittarius A * in the middle of

The Milky Way
The Milky Way is the galaxy that contains the earth and is named after its appearance from the earth. It is a bombarded spiral galaxy that contains an estimated 100-400 billion stars and has a diameter between 150,000 and 200,000 light-years.

“data-gt-translate-attributes =”[{” attribute=””>Milky Way. These black holes are very heavy – their mass can be from a million to over a billion times the mass of the Sun and, as such, are appropriately known as supermassive black holes.

As galaxies move through the Universe, they will occasionally merge. When this happens, the supermassive black holes they host tend to migrate toward each other and form a binary system. As these two black holes orbit each other, they warp the fabric of space and time around them and produce gravitational waves complete one full oscillation every year or so as they travel through space and are classified as low-frequency gravitational waves.

The Universe is full of these supermassive pulsar timing array but it could be years before there is a confirmed detection.

Scientists Predict Gravitational Waves From Merging Supermassive Black Holes

Scientists predict gravitational waves from merging supermassive black holes. Credit: Carl Knox, OzGrav-Swinburne University

For this reason, cosmological simulations are often used to predict what this gravitational wave signal could look like. This type of simulation helps scientists understand the structure and history of the Universe by tracking the flow of matter and energy from a time soon after the Monash University), alongside several OzGrav scientists, including OzGrav Associate Investigator Dr. Hannah Middleton, have recently made a new prediction for the strength of this gravitational wave signal. The new estimate is based on data from the MassiveBlack-II simulation, which simulates a massive region of space similar to a chunk of our own Universe.

The team made two estimates: one in which the supermassive black holes merge almost instantly once their host galaxies collide, and another in which the two black holes take time to sink towards each other once they pair up in a binary system. This second estimate is important as the gravitational wave output of a binary can change during this time due to the interactions of stars and gas nearby the supermassive binary.

The simulated gravitational wave signal using MassiveBlack-II is similar to other predictions in previous studies. It’s smaller than a signal currently detectable by

“An estimate of the stochastic gravitational wave background from the MassiveBlackII simulation” by Bailey Sykes, Hannah Middleton, Andrew Melatos, Tiziana Di Matteo, Colin DeGraf and Aklant Bhowmick, 14 February 2022, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stac388

“The MassiveBlack-II simulation: the evolution of haloes and galaxies to z ∼ 0” by Nishikanta Khandai, Tiziana Di Matteo, Rupert Croft, Stephen Wilkins, Yu Feng, Evan Tucker, Colin DeGraf and Mao-Sheng Liu, 24 April 2015, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stv627

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