SXS News & Updates

Pfeiffer wins Bessel Award

CITA Professor Harald Pfeiffer has been awarded a Wilhelm Bessel Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The award honors Prof. Pfeiffer’s outstanding research record, and invites him to a long-term research stay in Germany.  Pfeiffer, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Numerical Relativity and Gravitational Wave Astrophysics, performs research on black holes and Neutron stars.  He uses Canadian supercomputers to investigate what happens when such objects collide with each other.  Of particular importance is the emission of gravitational waves, ripples in space and time itself, emitted by such collisions.  Special-purpose gravitational wave detectors in the U.S., Europe and Japan are searching for these waves, to gain new insights into black holes and Neutron stars that emit gravitational waves, and into any other astrophysical processes that emit gravitational waves.  Pfeiffer is also a member of the CITA research group that contributes to analyzing the data of the LIGO, Virgo and GEO gravitational wave detectors, located in the U.S., Italy and Germany, respectively. 

SXS News & Updates

175 orbits!!

Feb 17 2015 
The SXS collaboration has produced the first computation of black hole
binary coalescence that is capable of following the black holes for
over 175 orbits until they collide.  Previous computations were
limited to only a few dozen orbits. The ability to track many orbits
is important for testing the post-Newtonian approximation and for
producing waveforms that cover the entire range of frequencies that
will be seen by LIGO.  See the preprint here
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New Movies

Members of the SXS collaboration are pleased to announce new movies
( and
( that show how the night
sky would look in the presence of a binary black hole merger.  The
image is distorted because the light rays that reach your eye don't
follow straight lines, but are bent (dramatically) by the enormous
spacetime curvature near the black holes.  The paths of individual
light rays are computed in order to make these movies.  Details can be
found in this paper (
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More quickly rotating black holes

The SXS collaboration can now simulate binaries containing black holes that spin at a rate of 99.4% of their maximum theoretical value, the fastest spins ever simulated.  The technical improvements allowing such large spins are reported here ( an investigation of the maximum spin during binary coalescence can be found here (
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Four Areas of Science


Go, wond'rous creature!
Mount where Science guides,
Go, measure earth, weigh air,
    and state the tides;
Instruct the planets in
    what orbs to run,
Correct old Time,
    and regulate the Sun.

Alexander Pope's
An Essay on Man

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About SXS

The SXS project is a collaborative research effort involving multiple institutions. Our goal is the simulation of black holes and other extreme spacetimes to gain a better understanding of Relativity, and the physics of exotic objects in the distant cosmos.

The SXS project is supported by Canada Research Chairs, CFI, CIfAR, Compute Canada, Max Planck Society, NASA, NSERC, the NSF, Ontario MEDI, the Sherman Fairchild Foundation, and XSEDE.

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