Perspective

Classical Black Holes: The Nonlinear Dynamics of Curved Spacetime

Science  03 Aug 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6094, pp. 536-538
DOI: 10.1126/science.1225474

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Abstract

Numerical simulations have revealed two types of physical structures, made from curved spacetime, that are attached to black holes: tendexes, which stretch or squeeze anything they encounter, and vortexes, which twist adjacent inertial frames relative to each other. When black holes collide, their tendexes and vortexes interact and oscillate (a form of nonlinear dynamics of curved spacetime). These oscillations generate gravitational waves, which can give kicks up to 4000 kilometers per second to the merged black hole. The gravitational waves encode details of the spacetime dynamics and will soon be observed and studied by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory and its international partners.

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