Articles about black hole

Astroboffins spy the most greedy black hole yet gobbling a Sun a day

Astronomers have spotted the greediest supermassive black hole going through the fastest growth spurt some 12 billion years ago. The humongous hole, codenamed QSO SMSS J215728.21-360215.1, is the staggering size of about 20 billion suns, and grows at a rate of 200 million suns over a million years. It has a voracious appetite …
Katyanna Quach, 15 May 2018

Astro-boffinry world rocked to its very core: Shock as Andromeda found to be not much bigger than Milky Way

The Andromeda galaxy is actually roughly the same size as the Milky Way, and may not engulf our galaxy when it is expected to collide in about four billion years time, according to new research. In other words, no, Andromeda is not the vastly larger sprawling galaxy we all thought it was. A paper published earlier this week …
Katyanna Quach, 16 Feb 2018

Supermassive black holes scoff just one star per year, say space weight watchers

Supermassive black holes in merger galaxies snack on one star every year, according to a paper published on Thursday. The Andromeda galaxy, also known as Messier 31 or M31, sits next door to the Milky Way only about 2.5 million light years away. It’s a giant spiral galaxy teeming with stars and astroboffins have spotted a pair …
Black hole - spaghetti visualisation. Artist's impression.  NASA/JPL-Caltech, CC BY-SA

Ancient fat black holes created by belching Big Bang's dark matter

The largest and oldest supermassive black holes were created from a giant clump of dark matter and gas after the Big Bang, according to a supercomputer simulation. Supermassive black holes have long been a mystery to the world's eggheads. It’s a puzzle how the gigantic voids over 13 billion light years away – and date back to …
Katyanna Quach, 29 Sep 2017
Artist's view of a binary black hole. Pic credit: NASA, ESA and G Bacon (STScI)

Boffins discover tightest black hole binary system – and it's supermassive

Scientists have discovered the closest-ever supermassive black hole binary system. It's in the spiral galaxy NGC 7674, and the pair of voids are separated by a distance of less than one light year. Supermassive black hole binaries are rare. Until now, astronomers have only spotted one so far, about 24 light years apart. …
Katyanna Quach, 20 Sep 2017
Black hole

Boffins find a new way to catch the 'tails' of quasars in massive galaxies

Physicists have managed to analyze the hidden "tails" swirling around quasars in supermassive black holes by using a combination of radio telescopes and the Gaia space observatory. A quasar is an active black hole, identified by plumes of matter shooting out from its center, and a shroud of gas and dust known as an accretion …
Katyanna Quach, 13 Sep 2017
Black hole - spaghetti visualisation. Artist's impression.  NASA/JPL-Caltech, CC BY-SA

If we're in a simulation, someone hit it with a hammer, please: Milky Way spews up to 100 MEELLLION black holes

A new study shows that there may be up to 100 million black holes scattered around the dark depths of the Milky Way – a number much higher than previously expected. That figure was calculated by University of California at Irvine physicists, who took a closer look at the gravitational waves detected by the LIGO equipment in …
Black hole

Forget Iran and North Korea. Now there's another uranium source

Astronomers have proposed that heavy elements in the universe may have been forged when small, primordial black holes swallowed neutron stars. Boffins widely believe that elements lighter than iron are formed during nuclear fusion reactions in the cores of stars, or during supernova bursts. But to create elements heavier than …
Black holes merging

Ever wondered why the universe only has black holes in S or XXXL? No? Boffins have an answer

Astronomers looking for black holes have been baffled by the same question for decades: we've found large and small holes, but where are all the medium-sized black holes? It’s a mystery that Tal Alexander, a physics professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, and Ben Bar-Or, a scholar at the Institute of Advanced …
Katyanna Quach, 27 Jun 2017

Event horizons around black holes do exist, say astroboffins

Physicists in the US have found evidence that event horizons around black holes do exist, reinforcing Einstein’s theory of General Relativity. Black holes are strange objects that can grow to monstrous sizes. The gravitational field around them is believed to be so strong that even light cannot escape. Event horizons outline a …
Katyanna Quach, 30 May 2017

Astroboffins clock thriving stellar nursery nestled in violent supermassive black hole

Astronomers have for the first time found stars forming within the violent outflows of material ejected from a supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy. Stars are born under extreme conditions. Intense gravitational forces cause gas to collapse into a heated ball, until the pressure can be balanced with the outward …
Katyanna Quach, 27 Mar 2017
Black hole - spaghetti visualisation. Artist's impression.  NASA/JPL-Caltech, CC BY-SA

NASA eyes up supermassive black holes, neutron stars

NASA will embark on a new mission to explore supermassive black holes, neutron stars, and pulsars hidden within the depths of space. The Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) mission was chosen among 14 other proposals during the rigorous selection process for NASA's Astrophysics Explorer programmes. It's expected to …

Remember that brightest supernova ever seen? It wasn't one

Last year, astronomers spotted what looked like a massive supernova, 200 times brighter than any seen before. Use of the Hubble and Swift orbital telescopes as well as observatories here on Earth to make a close analysis of the event, dubbed ASASSN-15lh, indicates that the flash in the sky might not have been a supernova at …
Iain Thomson, 12 Dec 2016
Chandra's wandering black hole

Stripped of its galaxy, this black hole is wandering naked in the cosmos

Boffins analysing old Chandra x-ray telescope data have spotted a rarity indeed: an X-ray source that seems to be a black hole, but without a galaxy to surround it. At an estimated 100,000 times the mass of the sun, the black hole in question – at the edge of lenticular galaxy SDSS J141711.07+522540.8, about 4.5 billion light …

Lab-grown black hole proves Stephen Hawking's radiation claims – physicist

A physicist claims to have created a sonic black hole to observe Hawking radiation and its quantum weirdness, all within the safe confines of his laboratory. The gravitational pull of a black hole was once assumed to be so strong that no object or light could escape once it was dragged beyond the event horizon, making it …
Katyanna Quach, 16 Aug 2016

Africa's MeerKAT looks at the sky, surprises boffins with 1,300 galaxies

The operators of the MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa have switched on its first 16 dishes and, pretty much immediately, spotted more than 1,200 new galaxies. If all goes to plan, by the end of next year the facility will have 64 antennae, and will eventually become part of the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA …

Dying satellite sends boffins one last surprise before disappearing

Hitomi, the failed X-ray observatory sent up to space by Japan's Aerospace Exploration Agency, peered deep into the heart of a galaxy to reveal hot bubbling plasma before it died. The satellite was launched in February with the aim of exploring high-energy activities in space, but lost contact with Earth a month later. Errors …
Artist's view of a binary black hole. Pic credit: NASA, ESA and G Bacon (STScI)

BAM! Astroboffins now have a second way of picking up black holes' collision super kicks

Gravitational waves released from black hole “super kicks” may soon be detectable, according to new research published in Physical Review Letters. Einstein realised that gravitational waves were a product of his theory of General Relativity, which found that spacetime behaved like a fabric. When objects with mass – such as …

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