At the center of the Milky Way galaxy, nearly 26,000 light-years away, a cluster of stars circles close to the supermassive black hole known as Sagittarius A*. As these few dozen stars, called S-stars, approach the black hole—which is about four million times more massive than the sun—its immense gravitational force whips them around faster than 16 million miles per hour. In fact, the gravitational pull of Sagittarius A* is so intense that it warps the light from these stars when they stray too close, stretching the wavelengths toward the red part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Continue reading A Star Orbiting in the Extreme Gravity of a Black Hole Validates General Relativity
Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity is magnificent. For a hundred years, it has consistently predicted all sorts of wacky phenomena scientists have later observed throughout space. One international team is now announcing that a 26-year-long observation campaign has once again confirmed the theory. Continue reading Supermassive Black Hole Stretches Starlight, Proving Einstein Right Again
What makes a genius?
Perhaps for athletes, a genius is an Olympic medalist. In entertainment, a genius could be defined as an EGOT winner, someone who has won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award. For Mensa, the exclusive international society comprising members of “high intelligence,” someone who scores at or above the 98th percentile on an IQ or other standardized intelligence test could be considered genius.
For the second time this year, physicists at the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational Waves Observatory (LIGO) are giddy with excitement. They’ve just confirmed the second detection of gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of spacetime proposed by Albert Einstein a century ago. It seems we’ve officially entered the age of gravitational wave astronomy.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, right? That, at least, is the motto the European Space Agency seems to have embraced with respect to two wayward satellites, which are being repurposed to provide the most accurate assessment yet of how gravity affects the passage of time.
According to Albert Einstein, the speed of light is an absolute constant beyond which nothing can move faster. So, how can galaxies be traveling faster than the speed of light if nothing is supposed to be able to break this cosmic speed limit?
Ripped from the pages of a sci-fi novel, physicists have crafted a wormhole that tunnels a magnetic field through space.
“This device can transmit the magnetic field from one point in space to another point, through a path that is magnetically invisible,” said study co-author Jordi Prat-Camps, a doctoral candidate in physics at the Autonomous University of Barcelona in Spain. “From a magnetic point of view, this device acts like a wormhole, as if the magnetic field was transferred through an extra special dimension.”