Spiraling Black Holes

Animation created by SXS, the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) project (http://www.black-holes.org)

A computer simulation of gravitational waves from merging black holes, based on data acquired Sept. 14, 2015 by the LIGO detectors. Our universe's three-dimensional space is shown as a two-dimensional surface, with one dimension removed. The black holes’ strong gravity curves the space near them into funnel shapes. As the black holes spiral together and merge into one, gravitational waves ripple outward. The movie is shown in slow motion, about 40 times slower than real time.