Tag Archives: Black Holes

ALMA ‘Weighs’ Monster Black Hole to Highest Precision

Though we know black holes are kinda big, how do astronomers measure their mass? It’s not as if we can go out there and simply “weigh” them. Fortunately, astronomers have many tricky ways to work out the mass of objects in the universe and black holes are no exception. Continue reading ALMA ‘Weighs’ Monster Black Hole to Highest Precision

Gamma-Ray Burst Detected Near Gravitational Wave Source

On Sept. 14, 2015, our planet experienced a very slight spacetime ripple that was detected by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO). On analyzing the signal, physicists realized these gravitational waves were caused by a black hole merger, some 1.3 billion light-years away. This first gravitational wave event was dubbed “GW150914.” Continue reading Gamma-Ray Burst Detected Near Gravitational Wave Source

‘Bizarre’ Group of Distant Black Holes are Mysteriously Aligned

A highly sensitive radio telescope has seen something peculiar in the depths of our cosmos: A group of supermassive black holes are mysteriously aligned, as if captured in a synchronized dance.

These black holes, which occupy the centers of galaxies in a region of space called ELAIS-N1, appear to have no relation to one another, separated by millions of light-years. But after studying the radio waves generated by the twin jets blasting from the black holes’ poles, astronomers using data from the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in India realized that all the jets were pointed in the same direction, like arrows on compasses all pointing “north.” Continue reading ‘Bizarre’ Group of Distant Black Holes are Mysteriously Aligned

Hawking: Gravitational Waves Could Revolutionize Astronomy

In the wake of last week’s historic announcement of the discovery of gravitational waves by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), British physicist and black hole theorist Stephen Hawking was quick to congratulate the US-led collaboration, sharing his excitement for the historic news. Continue reading Hawking: Gravitational Waves Could Revolutionize Astronomy

Astronomers Detect Visible Light From Black Hole for First Time

For the first time, astronomers have seen dim flickers of visible light from near a black hole, researchers with an international science team said. In fact, the light could be visible to anyone with a moderate-size telescope. Continue reading Astronomers Detect Visible Light From Black Hole for First Time

‘The Force’ Awakens in Star’s ‘Lightsaber’ Jets

No, this isn’t an image of Darth Maul with his double-bladed lightsaber making a comeback in “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens”, this is a stunning new observation by the Hubble Space Telescope of an extremely energetic young star blasting jets of plasma though clouds of gas and dust in the nebula where it was born. Continue reading ‘The Force’ Awakens in Star’s ‘Lightsaber’ Jets

Eavesdropping on Black Holes: Feasting Giants Sound Like Static

If you could hear the stuff that swirls around black holes, superdense white dwarfs and young stars, what would it sound like? Probably like the empty spaces on the radio dial, researchers say.

Simone Scaringi, a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, studies “accretion disks” around massive objects. An accretion disk is acollection of matter that gathers in a disc shape around a rotating object. Scaringi and his team looked at flickering in the light emissions of galactic nuclei, black holes, young stellar objects and white dwarfs, which are the collapsed remnants of massive stars. You can hear what accretion disks around black holes sound like here.
Continue reading Eavesdropping on Black Holes: Feasting Giants Sound Like Static