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Binary Black Holes, Gravitational Waves, and Numerical RelativityThe final merger of two black holes releases a tremendous amount of energy and is one of the brightest sources in the gravitational wave sky. Observing these sources with gravitational wave detectors requires that we know the radiation waveforms they emit. Since these mergers take place in regions of very strong gravitational fields, we need to solve Einstein's equations of general relativity on a computer in order to calculate these waveforms. For more than 30 years, scientists have tried to compute these waveforms using the methods of numerical relativity. The resulting computer codes have been plagued by instabilities, causing them to crash well before the black holes in the binary could complete even a single orbit. Recently this situation has changed dramatically, with a series of amazing breakthroughs. This talk will take you on this quest for the holy grail of numerical relativity, showing how a spacetime is constructed on a computer to build a simulation laboratory for binary black hole mergers. We will focus on the recent advances that are revealing these waveforms, and the dramatic new potential for discoveries that arises when these sources will be observed by LIGO and LISA.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Centrella, Joan
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2009
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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