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)