If you’ve ever wondered what the end of the Milky Way might look like, then perhaps it’s a little like this. You’re looking at a simulation of what would happen to our galaxy if two black holes somehow collided within it.
Created by the Simulating Extreme Spacetimes (SXS) project, the animation models how two black holes would behave if, for whatever reason, they began to approach each other in our very own galaxy.While there are only ever two black holes in the simulation, they bend the light from the surrounding stars in weird and wonderful ways, that make the entirety of space look like its melting.
Why only two black holes, and why has it taken until now to simulate how their coming together might look? That’s because the physics is real hard: it’s not the Newtonian mechanics you learned at high school, but the complex Einsteinian physics that explains the motion of such massive objects. In fact, this model reveals that, as the black holes draw closer, they lurch together at speeds not far from the speed of light, bending spacetime.
Speaking to Popular Science, one of the researchers explained how, when it came to creating the model, the “equations blew up in their faces” at first. So they have gradually evolved Einstein’s equations into something they can work with — and this is the result. You can read the full paper over on arXiv.