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Frontier Simulations of Black Hole Mergers
PI: Jim van Meter, NASA/GFSC
Code: Hahndahl
Allocation: 50 million hours

Binary black holes orbiting one another are believed to be among the universe’s most powerful sources of gravitational waves—fluctuations in the curvature of spacetime that radiate outward from the black holes at the speed of light. These systems are of intense interest among astrophysicists, as gravity waves have not yet been observed, and their detection would confirm Einstein’s 1915 Theory of General Relativity. James van Meter and colleagues at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center will use 50 million hours on ORNL’s Jaguar supercomputer to simulate black hole binaries of various configurations and the gravitational radiation they emit. The team will employ their Einstein-equation-solving code “Hahndol” to solve the equations that describe curved spacetime and gravity waves.

Two general types of system will be included: black holes in a vacuum and black holes surrounded by orbiting matter in the process of falling into the black holes. In the former, they will study black hole mass ratios, in which for example, a larger (higher mass) and smaller (lower mass) black hole are orbiting each other and the smaller one is absorbed by the larger, releasing gravitational radiation; moderate mass ratios, in which black holes of comparable size are orbiting each other and then merge; and black holes in eccentric (non-circular) orbits. All these black hole pairs may exist in the universe at observable distances, and their mergers produce different characteristic bursts of gravitational radiation. These simulations may allow the researchers to predict the detailed nature of the gravity waves generated during a black hole pair merger. This research is critical for data analysis at NASA’s planned Laser Interferometer Space Antenna mission “LISA” and the existing Laser Interferometer Gravitational Observatory “LIGO”, as both facilities hope to detect and study gravity waves passing through our solar system.


※「Theory of General Relativity」は一般相対性理論の事だそうです。
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