Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute)
Gravitational collapse to a rotating black hole
Collapse without excision: One octant
This visualization of a computer simulation shows the gravitational collapse of a neutron star to a rotating black hole. Such a collapse is one of the strongest sources of electromagnetic and gravitational radiation. But only a millionth part of the system energy is emitted as gravitational waves, so the computations have to be very accurate, and the numerical problem is quite challenging. Furthermore, in order to make good predictions of possible gravitational wave signals, the simulation has to be carried out on a large spacial region, as the gravitational waves take their so-called asymptotic form - how we can detect them on earth - only far away from the source. With the numerical method used here it was possible for the first time to compute the gravitational radiation of such an event with an all three-dimensional simulation.
The images show the collapsing neutron star, visualized by its matter density, and the curvature of the surrounding space, both quantities diverging. The apparent horizon appears (illustrated by a white circle) - the "boundary" of the forming black hole where nothing, not even light, can escape from. Zooming out to a larger area shows the emitted gravitational waves in its asymptotic form.
Credits: L. Baiotti (Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics), L. Rezzolla (Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics & Institute for Theoretical Physics, Frankfurt), R. Kähler (Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics & Zuse Institute Berlin)
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