Less than two weeks after the gravitational wave detectors turned back on, they’ve already seen evidence of two pairs of colliding black holes. Continue reading Gravitational Wave Detectors Spot Two Potential Black Hole Collisions in a Week
At the center of a galaxy called Messier 87, about 55 million light-years away, about which all of the matter of the galaxy orbits, there lies a monster: a supermassive black hole. With about 6.5 billion times the mass of the sun, the black hole at the center of M87 is so dense that its escape velocity, or the velocity needed to escape the object’s gravity, is more than the speed of light. Accordingly, not even photons of light can escape once they wander too close.
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
At the core of each large galaxy lies a supermassive black hole with the mass of 1 million suns. New research shows that these celestial vacuum cleaners do more than just devour nearby objects—they also grow to a size that eventually suppresses a galaxy’s ability to churn out new stars, effectively rendering them sterile.
There was a bang. A big one. It was the beginning of everything, but for several hundred million years, all was darkness. Then, lights started flickering to life, stars and gases and galaxies all coming online.
If you were to rank the wildest things in the universe, there are a few obvious contenders: gamma rays, fast radio bursts, and quasars, for example. But no list would be complete without black holes and the black hole’s less-dense cousins, the neutron star. These hyper-compressed things can do some mind-boggling warping to the shape of space itself. So, what happens if one were to eat the other?
You think our galaxy is special? Ha. Our boring pinwheel of gas and dark matter might be a nice hangout for humans. But 750 or so million light years away, there’s an elliptical galaxy, Galaxy 0402+379, whose two supermassive black holes are orbiting each other from a distance of only 24 or so light years. Their combined mass is around 15 billion times that of our Sun.