Midnight In The Desert — black holes

A monster black hole was found in an unexpected part of the universe

Posted by K R on

A monster black hole was found in an unexpected part of the universe

Astronomers have found a supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy in a "sparsely populated" area of the universe, NASA announced yesterday. The finding is important because black holes that size were believed to exist only at the core of very large galaxy clusters. The newly found black hole, observed by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the Gemini Telescope in Hawaii, seems to suggest that such black holes are more common that once thought. "The newly discovered supersized black hole resides in the center of a massive elliptical galaxy, NGC 1600, located in a cosmic backwater, a small...

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Red flashes reveal black hole feeding on star

Posted by K R on

Red flashes reveal black hole feeding on star

Rare and powerful flashes from a black hole consuming a star have been observed by astronomers. These flashes are some of the brightest black hole outbursts seen in recent years, according to a new study published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. In June 2015, V404 Cygni, a binary system that is comprised of a black hole and an orbiting star slightly smaller than the sun, went through a phase of dramatic brightening for two weeks. During the brightening, strong red flashes of light lasting only fractions of a second were observed as the black hole...

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Gravity Waves and ET

Posted by K R on

Gravity Waves and ET

The other shoe has dropped. After a century of speculation and a half-century of searching, science teams using instruments built by Caltech and MIT have made a discovery that will take up permanent residency in physics textbooks from now to the end of textbooks. They've found the gravity waves that Einstein's General Theory of Relativity predicted must pervade the cosmos. There's little doubt that this experiment should be celebrated. It's a triumph of perseverance and clever effort: the instrumentation involved is able to detect distortions amounting to a millionth of a billionth of a meter in a tube four kilometers...

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The Death of General Relativity Lurks in a Black Hole's Shadow

Posted by K R on

The Death of General Relativity Lurks in a Black Hole's Shadow

NOTHING GETS OUT of a black hole—not even light. Once a star, a planet, a piece of dust, or even a single photon crosses the limit known as the event horizon, it’s not coming out again. Pulled into the crushing gravity of the singularity at the black hole’s heart, it vanishes from the universe. That’s a big problem if what you really want from a black hole is a photograph. By definition, it’s impossible. All light getting sucked in means no light reflects back—so a black hole is invisible, across the spectrum. And, duh, invisible objects don’t show up in...

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Will Our Descendants Survive the Destruction of the Universe?

Posted by K R on

Will Our Descendants Survive the Destruction of the Universe?

Billions of years from now, the universe as we know it will cease to exist. The good news is, that gives us a lot of time to prepare, and maybe even figure out a way to cheat cosmic death. Here are some possible ways our descendants might survive a cosmological apocalypse. The Universe, like the organisms that reside within it, is a mortal entity. Born in the Big Bang, it will eventually meet its fate through an equally cataclysmic process, whether it be in the form of a Big Rip, a Big Crunch, or an eternal deep freeze. Regardless, all...

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