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"We've found ways to visualize warped space-time like never before," says Kip Thorne, Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, Emeritus, at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

By combining theory with , Thorne and his colleagues at Caltech, Cornell University, and the National Institute for Theoretical Physics in South Africa have developed conceptual tools they've dubbed tendex lines and lines.

Using these tools, they have discovered that black-hole collisions can produce vortex lines that form a doughnut-shaped pattern, flying away from the merged black hole like smoke rings. The researchers also found that these bundles of vortex lines—called vortexes—can spiral out of the black hole like water from a rotating sprinkler.

The researchers explain tendex and vortex lines—and their implications for —in a paper that's published online on April 11 in the journal Physical Review Letters.

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Category: Science