Unreal Nature

November 26, 2009

Black Hole Flight Simulator

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 7:53 am

This is totally awesome. You gotta see these (if you haven’t already).

They are videos made by Andrew Hamilton (with help from many others, I’m sure), using the Black Hole Flight Simulator:

This is not an artist’s impression. It is a general relativistic volume-rendering of a super-computed simulation.

Try this one, just as a sample: [ 10 MB video ]

Or the same without the red grid: [ gridless 10 MB video ]

The distortion of the surrounding galaxy is caused by gravitational lensing. More notes:

If you went up to a real black hole, you would not find a red grid on its horizon. But I figure that any self-respecting spaceship would paint the horizon of the black hole with a heads-up display. After all, black holes are dangerous things. The horizon is painted dark red, as a reminder that anything falling through the horizon would appear to an observer outside the horizon to be dim and redshifted.

… The inset to the bottom right of the movie is a clock, which records the time left until you hit the central singularity, the place where space and time as you know them come to an end.

The clock records your “proper” time, the time that you actually experience in your brain, and that your wristwatch shows. In the movie, the clock slows down not because time is slowing down (à la 1979 movie “Walt Disney’s The Black Hole”), but because it is more interesting to run the movie more slowly nearer the singularity, so that you can see more clearly what happens there.

The time is in seconds if the black hole has a mass of 5 millions suns, approximately equal to the mass of the supermassive black hole at the center of our Galaxy. On your trajectory, it takes 16 seconds to fall from the horizon to the singularity.

… The inset to the bottom left of the movie is a map of your trajectory into the black hole. You follow a real free-fall trajectory.

The green region is a “safe” zone where circular orbits are stable.

The yellow region is a “risky” zone where circular orbits are unstable. If you are on an unstable circular orbit, then a tiny burst on your maneuvering thrusters will send you into the black hole, or off into outer space.

The orange region is a “danger” zone where there are no circular orbits, stable or unstable. To remain in orbit in this zone, you must keep firing your rockets. The closer to the horizon you get, the harder you must fire your rockets to keep from falling in.

The red line is the horizon, from within which there is no escape.

The videos links above are from “Journey into a Schwarzschild black hole.” For tons more videos and information, go here and click on  any of the links under the “Index” heading.



1 Comment

  1. Nice one!

    Comment by Felix — November 27, 2009 @ 11:28 am

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