Understanding the influence of distant stars: Manuela Campanelli, professor of astrophysics at Rochester Institute of Technology and director for the Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation, is using Frontera to develop a simulation to amplify our understanding of gravitational waves. The goal is to explain the origin of the powerful energy bursts that are emitted during a neutron star merger, including the types of electromagnetic signals emitted. Frontera enables Campanelli and her team to perform complex simulations at a speed two or more times faster than what is possible on any local supercomputer.
Computer calculations modeling the gravitational waves LIGO has observed to date and the black holes that emitted the waves. The image shows the horizons of the black holes above the corresponding gravitational wave.
Credit: Teresita Ramirez / Geoffrey Lovelace / SXS Collaboration / LIGO Virgo Collaboration.
Inspired by the Kepler Orrery IV (https://youtu.be/_DnDeBa0KFc).
Comparing the GW170104 signal seen by LIGO (in blue and orange) with computer simulations of black hole mergers (in black). The black circles represent the simulated black holes, scaled in proportion to their masses. Black holes can also spin about an axis, and where a simulated black hole was spinning we show the direction of the north pole with a gray arrow. The longer the arrow, the faster the spin. Interestingly, all of the simulations produce results broadly similar to the detected signal, despite their different configurations.