The figures and the animation show the coalescence of two orbiting black holes as detected by the Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo observatories on the 14th of August 2017. The strength of the gravitational wave is indicated by elevation as well as colour, with dark green indicating weak fields and bright violet indicating strong fields. The amplitude of the gravitational wave is rescaled in time which allows to show the signal during the entire coalexcence and not just close to merger, where it is strongest. The sizes of the black holes are increased by a factor of two to improve visibility.
The different figures show characteristic points of the binary black hole coalescence: inspiral with weaker gravitational fields, the merger of the two black-holes with the strongest fields and emitted gravitational waves, and the ringdown of the finally formed black hole. The initial system consisted of two black-holes with about 25 and 31 solar masses, the final black hole has a total mass of 53 solar masses. An equivalent of about 3 solar masses has been released by gravitational waves.
- September 27, 2017
- S. Ossokine/A. Buonanno/T. Dietrich (MPI for Gravitational Physics)/R. Haas (NCSA)/SXS project