4
$\begingroup$

Please see this image:

I wonder two things about these black holes. The first is, what are the oblong, smaller black hole-looking voids outside the perimeter of the major black holes? Also, why are these black holes not entirely circular, given that their mass is concentrated in a point? Is this just visual distortion?

$\endgroup$
5
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Is there any information on the source of your picture? Any caption? $\endgroup$
    – userLTK
    Dec 6, 2015 at 9:39
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @userLTK - Here is the original page: astrobites.org/2014/11/04/… $\endgroup$ Dec 6, 2015 at 10:37
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the edit but, why did you edit out the double-spaces between sentences? Double-spaces are how it's done in typed English... $\endgroup$ Dec 6, 2015 at 14:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There is a third way $\endgroup$
    – James K
    Dec 7, 2015 at 22:42
  • $\begingroup$ @JamesKilfiger - Funny :) But was spacing worth an edit? $\endgroup$ Dec 7, 2015 at 23:36

1 Answer 1

4
$\begingroup$

The image is about a merger of two black holes, before the actual merger takes place. The two largest of the dark regions are slightly distorted images of two the black holes. Distortion is due to light being bended asymmetrically by the combined gravity of the two black holes.

The two smaller dark areas show the respective other black hole in a strongly distorted version, since the light - or missing light - of the other black hole is bended around the respective less distorted appearing black hole by about 180 degrees, somewhat similar to an arrangement of uneven mirrors.

You may interprete the phenomenon of the smaller dark areas as an extreme version of Einstein rings.

$\endgroup$

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .