It illustrates three orbits of a pair of super massive black holes merely 40 orbits from merging. The mock-ups reveal the light emanated at this stage of the process may be led by UV light with some high-energy X-rays, as seen in any galaxy with a thriving super massive black hole
Almost every galaxy the size of our own Milky Way or bigger encompasses a giant black hole at its center. Studies show galaxy mergers ensue regularly in the universe, but so far no one has seen a merger of these giant black holes.
The simulation ran on the National Center for Super-computing Applications' Blue Waters supercomputer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Modeling three orbits of the system took 46 days on 9,600 computing cores.
Scientists have identified merger of stellar-mass black holes, which range from about three to a few dozen solar masses using the National Science Foundation's Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). Gravitational waves are space-time ripples traveling at the speed of light. They are formed when gigantic orbiting objects like black holes and neutron stars spiral together and merge.