Tag Archives: black hole

What lit up the universe?

New research from UCL shows we will soon uncover the origin of the ultraviolet light that bathes the cosmos, helping scientists understand how galaxies were built.

The study published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters by UCL cosmologists Dr Andrew Pontzen and Dr Hiranya Peiris (both UCL Physics & Astronomy), together with collaborators at Princeton and Barcelona Universities, shows how forthcoming astronomical surveys will reveal what lit up the cosmos. (more…)

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Nearest Bright ‘Hypervelocity Star’ Found

Speeding at 1 Million mph, It Probes Black Hole and Dark Matter

A University of Utah-led team discovered a “hypervelocity star” that is the closest, second-brightest and among the largest of 20 found so far. Speeding at more than 1 million mph, the star may provide clues about the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way and the halo of mysterious “dark matter” surrounding the galaxy, astronomers say. (more…)

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NASA’s WISE Findings Poke Hole in Black Hole ‘Doughnut’ Theory

A survey of more than 170,000 supermassive black holes, using NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), has astronomers reexamining a decades-old theory about the varying appearances of these interstellar objects.

The unified theory of active, supermassive black holes, first developed in the late 1970s, was created to explain why black holes, though similar in nature, can look completely different. Some appear to be shrouded in dust, while others are exposed and easy to see. (more…)

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Searching for Cosmic Accelerators via IceCube

Berkeley Lab Researchers Part of an International Hunt

In our universe there are particle accelerators 40 million times more powerful than the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. Scientists don’t know what these cosmic accelerators are or where they are located, but new results being reported from “IceCube,” the neutrino observatory buried at the South Pole, may show the way. These new results should also erase any doubts as to IceCube’s ability to deliver on its promise.

“The IceCube Collaboration has announced the observation of 28 extremely high energy events that constitute the first solid evidence for astrophysical neutrinos from outside our solar system,” says Spencer Klein, a senior scientist with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and a long-time member of the IceCube Collaboration. “These 28 events include two of the highest energy neutrinos ever reported, which have been named Bert and Ernie.” (more…)

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Black Hole Naps amidst Stellar Chaos

Nearly a decade ago, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory caught signs of what appeared to be a black hole snacking on gas at the middle of the nearby Sculptor galaxy. Now, NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), which sees higher-energy X-ray light, has taken a peek and found the black hole asleep.

“Our results imply that the black hole went dormant in the past 10 years,” said Bret Lehmer of the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. “Periodic observations with both Chandra and NuSTAR should tell us unambiguously if the black hole wakes up again. If this happens in the next few years, we hope to be watching.” Lehmer is lead author of a new study detailing the findings in the Astrophysical Journal. (more…)

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NASA’s NuSTAR Helps Solve Riddle of Black Hole Spin

PASADENA, Calif. — Two X-ray space observatories, NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton, have teamed up to measure definitively, for the first time, the spin rate of a black hole with a mass 2 million times that of our sun.

The supermassive black hole lies at the dust- and gas-filled heart of a galaxy called NGC 1365, and it is spinning almost as fast as Einstein’s theory of gravity will allow. The findings, which appear in a new study in the journal Nature, resolve a long-standing debate about similar measurements in other black holes and will lead to a better understanding of how black holes and galaxies evolve. (more…)

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Hungry Black Hole

Astronomers poised for galactic chow-down

The super-massive black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy has a healthy appetite, frequently snacking on asteroids and comets. Now, a cloud of gas and dust called G2 is on a dangerous course to become its next meal.

Even though Sagittarius A* (pronounced “Sagittarius A-star”) hasn’t been easy to see through the cosmic dust, sitting 25,000 light years away at galaxy central, scientists know it is a black hole — and a hungry one at that. Its weight has been estimated to be more than that of 4 million suns. (more…)

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MSU Research Sheds New Light on Star Clusters, Black Holes

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Research by Michigan State University astronomers has scientists re-thinking the fates of black holes, particularly in groups of stars known as globular clusters.

The research of Jay Strader, MSU assistant professor of physics and astronomy, and colleagues focused on a cluster called Messier 22, or M22, a collection of hundreds of thousands of stars located about 10,000 light years from Earth. Using images of unprecedented depth observed at radio wavelengths, Strader and his team were surprised to find not one but two black holes in the cluster. (more…)

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