Feeds

Black holes actually green: official

Fuel-efficient galactic monsters

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Black holeScientists studying the energy output of black holes have discovered to their surprise that "the conversion of energy by matter falling toward a black hole is much more efficient than nuclear or fossil fuels" - so much so that "if a car was as fuel-efficient as these black holes, it could theoretically travel more than a billion miles on a gallon of gas".

That's according to boffins at the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, who studied the inner regions of nine elliptical galaxies with a view to determining the rate at which gas is being sucked towards said galaxies' supermassive black holes.

As the gas falls towards the event horizon, it releases energy in the form of high-energy particles which stream away in jets from a "magnetised gaseous disk" encompassing the black hole's core (see pic). These jets then form enormous "bubbles" far out into space.

The question for the Chandra team was how much energy would be required for the jets to produce these bubbles, in some cases thousands of light years across? The answer, according to Steve Allen of Stanford University, is a trillion trillion trillion watts.

The upshot of this fuel-efficient conversion rate, Reuters notes, is that big black holes theoretically have enough gas to keep firing for hundreds of billions of years, way beyond the current estimated age of the universe - a modest 13.7bn years.

A knock-on effect of the black holes' emissions, says Kim Weaver of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre, is that the outpouring of energy heats up the gas surrounding the galactic centre, thereby preventing stars from forming from cooling gaseous matter.

Weaver said: "This is one way to keep the stars from forming and letting the galaxies grow bigger." ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
HUGE SHARK as big as a WWII SUBMARINE died out, allowing whales to exist
Who'd win a fight: Megalodon or a German battleship?
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.