GW151226 Simulation (IMAGE) University of Maryland Caption This image depicts two black holes just moments before they collided and merged with each other, releasing energy in the form of gravitational waves. On Dec. 26, 2015, after traveling for 1.4 billion years, the waves reached Earth and set off the twin LIGO detectors. This marks the second time that LIGO has detected gravitational waves, providing further confirmation of Einstein's general theory of relativity and securing the future of gravitational wave astronomy as a fundamentally new way to observe the universe. The black holes were 14 and 8 times the mass of the sun (L-R), and merged to form a new black hole 21 times the mass of the sun. An additional sun's worth of mass was transformed and released in the form of gravitational energy. Credit Numerical Simulations: S. Ossokine and A. Buonanno, Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, and the Simulating eXtreme Spacetime (SXS) project. Scientific Visualization: T. Dietrich and R. Haas, Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics. Usage Restrictions None License Licensed content Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.