LIGO Black Holes Merging artist's illustration 6-2017

LIGO Black Holes Merging artist's illustration 6-2017

black-and-white illustration of dynamic circular movements of two black holes as the are drawn close to each other in the moments just before their climactic merger

Before the Merge: Spiraling Black Holes. This artist's conception shows two merging black holes similar to those detected by LIGO. The black holes — which will ultimately spiral together into one larger black hole — are shown orbiting one another in a plane. They are spinning in a non-aligned fashion, which means they have different orientations relative to the overall orbital motion of the pair. There is a hint of this phenomenon found by LIGO in at least one black hole of the GW170104 black-hole system.

Image: LIGO/Caltech/MIT/Sonoma State (Aurore Simonnet)