"It is hard to know how our future descendants will regard the little sliver of history that we live in. It is hard to know what events will seem important to them, what the narrative of now will look like to the twenty-fifth century mind. We tend to think of our time as one uniquely shaped by the advance of technology, but more and more I suspect that this will be remembered as an age of cosmology---as the moment when the human mind first internalized the cosmos that gave rise to it.
Continue reading "Today's 'Galaxy' Insight --"We're Living in the Age of Cosmology"" »
A swarm of 10,000 or more black holes may be orbiting the Milky Way's supermassive black hole, according to results from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. This would represent the highest concentration of black holes anywhere in the Galaxy. These relatively small, stellar-mass black holes, along with neutron stars, appear to have migrated into the Galactic Center over the course of several billion years.
Continue reading " "The Great Migration" --10,000 Black Holes and Neutron Stars Swarm at Milky Way's Center (Today's Most Popular)" »
"A big misconception is that a black hole is made of matter that has just been compacted to a very small size. That's not true. A black hole is made from warped space and time. It may have been created by an imploding star [where the gravity becomes so concentrated that nothing, not even light, can escape]. But the star's matter is destroyed at the hole's center, where space-time is infinitely warped. There's nothing left anywhere but warped space-time.
Continue reading "Weekend 'Galaxy' Insight -- "The Warping of Space and Time"" »
"Plate tectonics are essential to life as we know it," said Diana Valencia of Harvard University. "Our calculations show that bigger is better when it comes to the habitability of rocky planets."
Continue reading " "Not a Coincidence" --The Largest Rocky Planet in Our Solar System is the Only One with Life" »
It is thought that a majority of the galaxies in the universe have a massive black hole in the galactic center. Since these black holes have masses of several millions to tens of billions of solar masses, they are called "supermassive black holes (SMBHs)". Recent observation results suggest the correlation between the SMBH mass and the central bulge mass/luminosity of the host galaxy. Such correlation indicates that SMBHs may have played a key role in the growth and evolution of galaxies.
Continue reading " Supermassive Black-Hole Engines --"Play a Key Role in the Growth and Evolution of Galaxies"" »
Using the Hubble Space Telescope's infrared vision, astronomers have unveiled some of the previously hidden origins of quasars, the brightest objects in the universe. A new study finds that quasars are born when galaxies crash into each other and fuel supermassive, central black holes.
Continue reading ""Lighting Up the Universe" --Black-Hole Creation Triggered By Colliding Galaxies" »
Titan is a remarkable object in the Solar System. Like Earth and Venus, and unlike any other moon, it has a rocky surface and a thick atmosphere. It is the only object in the Solar System aside from the Earth to have rivers, rainfall and seas. It is bigger than the planet Mercury.
Continue reading "Saturn's Titan --"New Discovery on the Most Earthlike Object in Our Solar System"" »
Supermassive black holes lurk at the center of every large galaxy. These cosmic behemoths can be millions to billions of times more massive than the Sun. Determining just how massive, however, has been daunting, especially for spiral galaxies and their closely related cousins barred spirals.
Continue reading "ALMA Observatory Spies Monster Black Hole at Center of a Spectacular Spiral Galaxy" »
According to the professor of physics at The Ohio State University, the recently proposed idea that black holes have “firewalls” that destroy all they touch has a loophole. In a paper posted online to the arXiv preprint server, Mathur takes issue with the firewall theory, and proves mathematically that black holes are not necessarily arbiters of doom.In fact, he says the world could be captured by a black hole, and we wouldn’t even notice.
Continue reading ""Our World Could be Captured by a Black Hole --And We Wouldn’t Even Notice"" »
A very distant galaxy, CR7, discovered using ESO's Very Large Telescope is by far the brightest galaxy yet found in the early Universe, and there is strong evidence that examples of the first generation of stars lurk within it. These massive, brilliant, and previously purely theoretical objects were the creators of the first heavy elements in history -- the elements necessary to forge the stars around us today, the planets that orbit them, and life as we know it. This newly found galaxy is three times brighter than the brightest distant galaxy known up to now.
Continue reading "Evidence of Enormous First Stars of the Cosmos Found in Primordial Galaxy" »