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.Continue reading “Next Generation Telescopes Could Detect the Direct Collapse of Enormous Black Holes Near the Beginning of Time”
Is there anywhere in the Universe where we can escape from radiation? Certainly not here on Earth. And not in space itself, which is filled with diffuse radiation in the form of gamma rays and neutrinos. Scientists have struggled to explain where all those gamma rays and neutrinos come from. A trio of researchers is proposing a source for all that radiation in a new paper: resting black holes.Continue reading “Even the Quiet Supermassive Black Holes are Blasting out Neutrinos and Gamma Rays”
Supermassive black holes (SMBH) reside in the center of galaxies like the Milky Way. They are mind-bogglingly massive, ranging from 1 million to 10 billion solar masses. Their smaller brethren, intermediate-mass black holes (IMBH), ranging between 100 and 100,000 solar masses, are harder to find.
Astronomers have spotted an intermediate-mass black hole destroying a star that got too close. They’ve learned a lot from their observations and hope to find even more of these black holes. Observing more of them may lead to understanding how SMBHs got so massive.Continue reading “Astronomers Discover an Intermediate-Mass Black Hole as it Destroys a Star”
If two black holes merge in the middle of space, and nobody’s around to see it, does it really happen?Continue reading “In Addition to Gravitational Waves, is There any way to Detect Merging Black Holes”
A supernova is a brilliant end to a giant star. For a brief moment of cosmic time, a star makes one last effort to keep shining, only to fade and collapse on itself. The end result is either a neutron star or a stellar-mass black hole. We’ve generally thought that all stars above about ten solar masses will end as a supernova, but a new study suggests that isn’t the case.Continue reading “Heavier Stars Might not Explode as Supernovae, Just Quietly Implode Into Black Holes”
Black holes are more than just massive objects that swallow everything around them – they’re also one of the universe’s biggest and most stable energy sources. That would make them invaluable to the type of civilization that needs huge amounts of power, such as a Type II Kardashev civilization. But to harness all of that power, the civilization would have to encircle the entire black hole with something that could capture the power it is emitting.Continue reading “Advanced Civilizations Could be Using Dyson Spheres to Collect Energy From Black Holes. Here’s how we Could Detect Them”
Back in 2019, the world was treated to the first ever image of a black hole, which was originally captured in 2017. The feat was widely heralded as a leap forward for astrophysics, supporting Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Now a team led by the Radboud University proposes sending instruments into space to estimate black hole parameters more accurately by an order of magnitude. The newest paper, led by Dr. Volodymyr Kudriashov, translates science goals into technical requirements and focuses on the instrumentation needed for the Event Horizon Imager, as the mission is called.Continue reading “Space Telescopes Could Provide Next-Level Images of Black Hole Event Horizons”
Astronomers recently caught a supermassive black hole gulp down a star. It flared in exactly the same way as its smaller cousins do when those black holes have a snack. It just took longer and was a million times brighter.Continue reading “Whether They’re Stellar-Mass or Supermassive, Black Holes Behave Pretty Much the Same Way”
Why are black holes so alluring?
You could cite plenty of reasons: They’re matter-gobbling monsters, making them the perfect plot device for a Disney movie. They warp spacetime, demonstrating weird implications of general relativity. They’re so massive that inside a boundary known as the event horizon, nothing — not even light — can escape its gravitational grip.
But perhaps the most intriguing feature of black holes is their sheer mystery. Because of the rules of relativity, no one can report what happens inside the boundaries of a black hole.
“We could experience all the crazy stuff that’s going on inside a black hole, but we’d never be able to tell anybody,” radio astronomer Heino Falcke said. “We want to know what’s going on there, but we can’t.”
Falcke and his colleagues in the international Event Horizon Telescope project lifted the veil just a bit two years ago when they released the first picture ever taken of a supermassive black hole’s shadow. But the enduring mystery is a major theme in Falcke’s new book about the EHT quest, “Light in the Darkness: Black Holes, the Universe, and Us” — and in the latest installment of the Fiction Science podcast, which focuses on the intersection of fact and science fiction.Continue reading “Scientist sees deep meaning in black holes after Event Horizon Telescope’s triumph”
If you’ve been following developments in astronomy over the last few years, you may have heard about the so-called “crisis in cosmology,” which has astronomers wondering whether there might be something wrong with our current understanding of the Universe. This crisis revolves around the rate at which the Universe expands: measurements of the expansion rate in the present Universe don’t line up with measurements of the expansion rate during the early Universe. With no indication for why these measurements might disagree, astronomers are at a loss to explain the disparity.
The first step in solving this mystery is to try out new methods of measuring the expansion rate. In a paper published last week, researchers at University College London (UCL) suggested that we might be able to create a new, independent measure of the expansion rate of the Universe by observing black hole-neutron star collisions.Continue reading “Black Hole-Neutron Star Collisions Could Finally Settle the Different Measurements Over the Expansion Rate of the Universe”