Latest Black hole Stories

2008-10-23 06:40:00

Gamma-ray bursts are by far the brightest and most powerful explosions in the Universe, second only to the Big Bang itself. So it might seem a bit surprising that a group of them has gone missing. A single gamma-ray burst (GRB) can easily outshine an entire galaxy containing hundreds of billions of stars. Powerful telescopes can see them from clear across the Universe. And because the deeper you look into space, the farther back in time you see, astronomers should be able to see GRBs from the...

2008-10-22 06:30:00

There's a universal tendency to heed Dylan Thomas's exhortation and go out with a bang instead of a whimper. Nowhere is this more evident than deep in the cosmos. When their time is up, stars make their exits in a number of flamboyant ways. The most massive stars leave with the greatest fanfare of all "“ blasting out gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), tremendous explosions that rock the Universe like nothing else. These spectacular blasts, second in power only to the Big Bang, occur when stars...

2008-10-21 11:12:55

By cleverly unraveling the workings of a natural cosmic lens, astronomers have gained a rare glimpse of the violent assembly of a young galaxy in the early Universe. Their new picture suggests that the galaxy has collided with another, feeding a supermassive black hole and triggering a tremendous burst of star formation. The astronomers used the National Science Foundation's Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope to look at a galaxy more than 12 billion light-years from Earth, seen as it was...

2008-10-21 10:54:04

For decades it was baffling. Out of the still night sky, astronomers peering through their telescopes would occasionally glimpse quick bursts of high-energy light popping off like flashbulbs at the far side of the universe. These bursts seemed impossibly powerful: to appear so bright from so very far away, they must vastly outshine entire galaxies containing hundreds of billions of stars. These explosions, called gamma ray bursts (GRBs), are by far the brightest and most energetic phenomena...

2008-10-15 10:05:00

Unique observations of the flickering light from the surroundings of two black holes provide new insights into the colossal energy that flows at their hearts. By mapping out how well the variations in visible light match those in X-rays on very short timescales, astronomers have shown that magnetic fields must play a crucial role in the way black holes swallow matter. Like the flame from a candle, light coming from the surroundings of a black hole is not constant "” it flares, sputters...

2008-09-10 10:55:00

There appears to be an upper limit to how big the Universe's most massive black holes can get, according to new research led by a Yale University astrophysicist and published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Once considered rare and exotic objects, black holes are now known to exist throughout the Universe, with the largest and most massive found at the centres of the largest galaxies. These "ultra-massive" black holes have been shown to have masses upwards of one billion...

2008-09-08 10:00:00

A new report published on Friday, 5 September, provides the most comprehensive evidence available to confirm that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC)'s switch-on, due on Wednesday this week, poses no threat to mankind. Nature's own cosmic rays regularly produce more powerful particle collisions than those planned within the LHC, which will enable nature's laws to be studied in controlled experiments. The LHC Safety Assessment Group have reviewed and updated a study first completed in 2003, which...

2008-09-03 13:45:00

Radio dishes in 3 states create virtual telescope 2,800 miles across An international team, led by astronomers at the MIT Haystack Observatory, has obtained the closest views ever of what is believed to be a super-massive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The astronomers linked together radio dishes in Hawaii, Arizona and California to create a virtual telescope more than 2,800 miles across that is capable of seeing details more than 1,000 times finer than the Hubble Space...

2008-08-20 18:35:00

Black holes are sometimes huge cosmic beasts, billions of times the mass of our sun, and sometimes petite with just a few times the sun's mass. But do black holes also come in size medium? A new study suggests that, for the most part, the answer is no. Astronomers have long suspected that the most likely place to find a medium-mass black hole would be at the core of a miniature galaxy-like object called a globular cluster. Yet nobody has been able to find one conclusively. Now, a team of...

2008-06-30 14:40:00

GREENBELT, Md. -- A new NASA mission could discover the shape of space that has been distorted by a spinning black hole's crushing gravity, and explore the structure and effects of the formidable magnetic field around magnetars, dead stars with magnetic fields trillions of times stronger than Earth's. Current missions either don't have the resolution to do this, or in the case of magnetic field imaging, simply can't do this because magnetic fields are invisible. The proposed new mission,...

Latest Black hole Reference Libraries

2004-10-19 04:45:44

X-Ray Astronomy -- Although the more energetic X-rays (E > 30 keV) can penetrate the air at least for distances of a few meters (they would never have been detected and medical X-ray machines would not work if this was not the case) the Earth's atmosphere is thick enough that virtually none are able to penetrate from outer space all the way to the Earth's surface. X-rays in the 0.5 - 5 keV range, where most celestial sources give off the bulk of their energy, can be stopped by a few...

2004-10-19 04:45:42

Quasar -- A quasar (from quasi-stellar radio source) is an astronomical object that looks like a star in optical telescopes (i.e. it is a point source), but has a very high redshift. The general consensus is that this high redshift is cosmological, the result of Hubble's law and that their redshift indicates that they are typically very distant from Earth; we observe them as they were several billions of years ago. Since we can see them despite their distance, they must emit more...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

Cygnus X-1 -- Cygnus X-1 (often abbreviated to Cyg X-1) is an X-ray source in the Cygnus constellation considered to be one of the most likely black hole candidates. The optical counterpart (HDE 226868) is a variable 8.9 magnitude star (visible with good binoculars in good observing conditions.) at right ascension 19 h 56.5 min and declination of 35 deg 4 min (for 1950 epoch). Cyg X-1 is a binary star that contains a O9-B0 supergiant (with a surface temperature of 31000 Kelvin) and a...

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Word of the Day
  • A fool; a simpleton: a term of abuse common in Ireland and to a less extent in the Gaelic-speaking parts of Scotland.
This word is partly Irish in origin.