High-energy collision of two black holes

Ulrich Sperhake, Vitor Cardoso, Frans Pretorius, Emanuele Berti, José A. González

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations


We study the head-on collision of two highly boosted equal mass, nonrotating black holes. We determine the waveforms, radiated energies, and mode excitation in the center of mass frame for a variety of boosts. For the first time we are able to compare analytic calculations, black-hole perturbation theory, and strong field, nonlinear numerical calculations for this problem. Extrapolation of our results, which include velocities of up to 0.94c, indicate that in the ultrarelativistic regime about 14±3% of the energy is converted into gravitational waves. This gives rise to a luminosity of order 10-2c5/G, the largest known so far in a black-hole merger.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number161101
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number16
StatePublished - Oct 14 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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