The European Space Agency is highlighting a computer simulation of what it would look like when two black holes the size of half the solar system collide and merge into a single, even more gigantic black hole.
The simulation was published by NASA in 2012, but the ESA is using it to promote its new mission to investigate the gravitational Universe and a bid to finally see the gravitational waves predicted by Albert Einstein.
And you can’t say they don’t think ahead at the ESA – the mission’s launch date is 2034.
But in preparation, ESA will launch LISA-Pathfinder this November to test some of the essential technologies needed to build confidence in future spaceborne gravitational wave observatories.
The simulation pictures the gravitational waves that would ripple away from the collision disturbances in the spacetime continuum – the mathematical ‘fabric’ of space and time that Albert Einstein used to explain gravity.
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.
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