By applying the rules of Einsteinian general relativity to data pulled in by the Pan-STARRS telescope, scientist have developed two distinct simulations of supermassive black hole mergers that are considered the best yet.

As reported in *Nature News*, these simulations were presented earlier this month at a meeting of the American Physical Society in Baltimore, Maryland by astronomer Stuart Shaprio who works out of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The movies are a supplement to a paper his team put out on the subject last year.

#### Above: Electromagnetic radiation emitted by two swirling supermassive blackholes (Stu Shapiro)

The simulations don’t show the black holes merging *per se*, but instead provide visualizations of two key cosmological signatures that would be emitted during the merging process; the movies show the radiation that might be detected when two supermassive black holes swirl around each other, namely electromagnetic radiation and gravitational waves (ripples in space-time predicted by Einstein).

**Above: Gravitational waves emitted by two swirling supermassive blackholes (Stu Shapiro)**

Incredibly, the mathematical models allowed Shapiro and his team to confirm that two supermassive black holes currently under study— each of them weighing ten billion Suns — are set to collide in as little as seven years.

*Nature News *reports that

Shapiro’s team developed a mathematical model to couple Einstein’s equations (which describe the gravitational field around a black hole) with equations that govern the motion of matter moving close to the speed of light in a magnetic field.

A cosmologist not affiliated with the study described it as a “giant step forward.”

**Read ****more**** about these remarkable simulations and how they were put together at Nature News. **

## DISCUSSION