Next Generation Telescopes Could Detect the Direct Collapse of Enormous Black Holes Near the Beginning of Time

Dust in the Quasar Wind

The first black holes to appear in the universe may have formed from the direct collapse of gas. When they collapsed, they released a flood of radiation, including radio waves. A new study has found that the next generation of massive radio telescopes may be able to detect these bursts, giving precious insights into a critical epoch in the history of the universe.

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Gravitational-Wave Observatories Should be Able to Detect Primordial Black Hole Mergers, if They’re out There

The tumultuous era of the big bang may have been chaotic enough to flood the universe with primordial black holes. Eventually some of those black holes will find each other and merge, sending out ripples of gravitational waves. A comprehensive search for those gravitational wave signatures hasn’t found anything, putting tight constraints on the abundance of these mysterious objects.

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Wind Speeds in Jupiter’s Great Red Spot are Picking up

Jupiter's Great Red Spot Region

The Great Red Spot of Jupiter – the largest storm in the solar system – has been raging for centuries. Over the past 100 years however, the cyclone has been dwindling, but recent observations with Hubble show that the wind speeds may be picking up again. Is this just temporary, or will the storm return to its former glory?

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Next-Generation Gravitational Wave Observatories Could Detect the First Stars When They Exploded as Supernovae

From the Ashes of the First Stars

The first stars to appear in the universe are no longer with us – they died long ago. But when they died they released torrents of gravitational waves, which might still be detectable as a faint hum in the background vibrations of the cosmos.

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Early Massive Galaxies ran out of gas, Shutting Down Their Star Formation

Galaxies that formed within the first few billion years after the Big Bang should have lived long, healthy lives. After all, they were born with rich supplies of cold hydrogen gas, exactly the fuel needed to continue star formation. But new observations have revealed “quenched” galaxies that have shut off star formation. And astronomers have no idea why.

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Are the Burned-Out Remnants of the First Stars all Around us?

The first stars to appear in the universe lived fast and died young. Today, none of them likely remain. But their remnants, the black holes and neutron stars, might still wander around the cosmos. Unfortunately, they’re extremely difficult to detect unless they merge, and according to new research the only way to see them would be to conduct an unprecedented survey of the local volume of the universe.

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Astronomers Have a new way to Measure the Mass of Supermassive Black Holes

Even the most supermassive of the supermassive black holes aren’t very large, making it extremely difficult to measure their sizes. However, astronomers have recently developed a new technique that can estimate the mass of a black hole based on the movement of hot gas around them – even when the black hole itself it smaller than a single pixel.

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