Midnight In The Desert — black holes

Controversial Stephen Hawking Predictions, From Evil Aliens to Black Hole Bets

Posted by K R on

Controversial Stephen Hawking Predictions, From Evil Aliens to Black Hole Bets

In the 1970s, Stephen Hawking, who died on Wednesday age 76, turned the physics world upside down when he announced that black holes aren’t so black after all, and that some light can in fact escape the singularity’s edge, called the event horizon. That bombshell, which inspired a whole new way of looking at black holes through a quantum lens, would certainly not be the last time Hawking made shocking pronouncements about the nature of the cosmos. Here, we revisit some of the most famous wagers and provocative statements that Hawking made during his more than 40 years of public...

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The Wall of Death Around Black Holes Could Break Down

Posted by K R on

The Wall of Death Around Black Holes Could Break Down

Physicists have insisted for a long time that black holes are impenetrable ciphers. Whatever goes in is lost, impossible to study or meaningfully understand. Some small amount of matter and energy might escape a black hole in the form of "Hawking radiation," but anything still inside the black hole is functionally disappeared from the physical universe. The idea is a basic premise of modern physics: If something falls into a black hole, it can't be contacted, it's future can't be predicted. No observer could possibly survive traveling into the dark space, not even long enough to glance around and notice...

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Fast radio bursts may be dark matter ‘stars’ hitting black holes

Posted by K R on

Fast radio bursts may be dark matter ‘stars’ hitting black holes

Dark matter hitting black holes could be the source of some fast radio bursts – mysterious blasts of radio waves that come from billions of light years away, first detected 10 years ago. The stuff we see in space – stars, planets and gas – only makes up about 18 percent of the mass of the universe. The rest is dubbed dark matter, which can’t be seen except through its gravitational interactions with everything else. Nobody knows exactly what dark matter is, but one hypothesis is that it is formed of still-theoretical particles called axions. These particles, if they exist,...

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Earth-sized telescope set to snap first picture of a black hole

Posted by K R on

Earth-sized telescope set to snap first picture of a black hole

GET ready to peer into the unknown. This week, we will have our first chance to take a picture of the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy. The image could teach us how black holes work and even how the largest and smallest forces governing the universe fit together. The Event Horizon Telescope is switching on. It consists of eight radio observatories around the world, including telescopes in Spain, the US and Antarctica (see map). And for just four or five nights between 5 and 14 April, if the weather is clear at all of the observatories,...

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Could A Black Hole Be Blocking The Light From That 'Alien Megastructure' Star?

Posted by K R on

Could A Black Hole Be Blocking The Light From That 'Alien Megastructure' Star?

About 1480 light-years away from Earth, a star is doing something astronomers have never seen before. Every now and then, at random intervals, its light dips by as much as 22 percent. That's way too much to be a planet. And the star (officially named KIC 8462852, but informally called "Tabby's Star" or "Boyajian's Star") seems to have gotten dramatically darker over the past century. This odd behavior defies all known explanations, and astronomer Jason Wright has pointed out that these light patterns are similar to what we might expect if aliens built a complex of machines around the star...

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