3 Quasars: NASA’s Chandra Suggests Black Holes Gorging at Excessive Rates

  • A new Chandra study indicates the existence of a population of black holes that is consuming extremely large amounts of material.
  • Thick, donut-shaped disks may be surrounding the black holes, blocking much of the light that would otherwise be emitted.
  • The black holes in these quasars may be growing at an extraordinarily rapid rate.

Astronomers have studied 51 quasars with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and found they may represent an unusual population of black holes that consume excessive amounts of matter, as described in our latest press release. Quasars are objects that have supermassive black holes that also shine very brightly in different types of light. By examining the X-ray properties with Chandra, and combining them with data from ultraviolet and visible light observations, scientists are trying to determine exactly how these large black holes grow so quickly in the early Universe.

The quasars in this study - including the three shown as Chandra images in the bottom of the graphic - are located between about 5 billion and 11.5 billion light years from Earth. These quasars were selected because they had unusually weak emission from certain atoms, especially carbon, at ultraviolet wavelengths. Also, about 65% of the quasars in this new study were found to be much fainter in X-rays, by about 40 times on average, than typical quasars.

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What Betelgeuse going supernova would look like from Earth.

The Fairy of The Eagle Nebula - M16

“The dust sculptures of the Eagle Nebula are evaporating. As powerful starlight whittles away these cool cosmic mountains, the statuesque pillars that remain might be imagined asmythical beasts. Pictured above is one of several striking dust pillars of the Eagle Nebula that might be described as a gigantic alien fairy. This fairy, however, is ten light years tall and spews radiation much hotter than common fire. The greater Eagle Nebula, M16, is actually a giant evaporating shell of gas and dust inside of which is a growing cavity filled with a spectacular stellar nursery currently forming an open cluster of stars. The above image in scientifically re-assigned colors was released in 2005 as part of the fifteenth anniversary celebration of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope.”

Credit: NASA/Hubble/APOD

Spotting black holes is tricky. Because they don’t give off light, astronomers have a difficult time pinpointing their location. But when a black hole gets close enough to an object, like a star, for example, and begins consuming the object’s mass, the matter that pours into its gravitational clutches can get so hot that it glows and releases energy in the form of X-ray light. The most powerful X-rays are emitted from the hottest material swirling just outside the edge of the black hole. By observing this light with space telescopes, scientists can determine where black holes are hiding in the cosmos. Watch the video to see a black hole in action.

Credit: NASA/Swift


How a pair of astrophysicists are defying expectations with a science fashion blog

“People are aware that there’s sort of a galaxy theme out there that sometimes are real images and sometimes they’re just artistic renditions, but I don’t think people are aware of the extent of it and how much that expands into all different types of product lines,” Ash told the Daily Dot.

There’s something for everyone on the blog from everyday wear to runway styles, pricy to affordable products, and options for men, women, and children. Looking through all the options is a lot of fun, but you’ll also learn something. As often as possible, they include the name of what you’re seeing displayed on each product such as a galaxy, along with information about it like its age and why scientists are interested in studying it. Dr. Ash said it’s a “come for the fashion, stay for the science” approach.

[Read more]

Using several telescopes, including NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, astronomers have found evidence that a white dwarf star - the dense core of a star like the Sun that has run out of nuclear fuel - may have ripped apart a planet as it came too close.
The European Space Agency’s INTErnational Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory (INTEGRAL) enabled to discover a new X-ray source near the center of the globular cluster NGC 6388. The rate at which the X-ray brightness dropped agrees with theoretical models of a disruption of a planet by the gravitational tidal forces of a white dwarf.
A new composite image shows NGC 6388 with X-rays detected by Chandra in pink and visible light from the Hubble Space Telescope in red, green, and blue, with many of the stars appearing to be orange or white. read more here

By 2008, Hawking’s hand was too weak to use the clicker. His graduate assistant at the time then devised a switching device called the “cheek switch.” Attached to his glasses, it could detect, via a low infrared beam, when Hawking tensed his cheek muscle. Since then, Hawking has achieved the feat of writing emails, browsing the internet, writing books and speaking using only one muscle. Nevertheless, his ability to communicate continued to decline. By 2011, he managed only about one or two words per minute, so he sent a letter to Moore, saying: “My speech input is very, very slow these days. Is there any way Intel could help?”

MOREHow Intel Gave Stephen Hawking a Voice


Best of 2014!













Still not satisfied? Relive the previous year in science!

the-randomness-blogger asked:

Okay so my friend and i were arguing for fun about antimatter, dark matter, and antigravity, but couldnt prove if one of us was correct. Could you help us out with some facts about these, or the differences in these things

Sure So I’ll just run through some facts for you. I’ll start with definitions and I’ll try to make it as simple as possible. I’ll include as many sources as I can so everyone can fact check and let me know if I need to change anything.

You should also check out this NASA page on the subject: http://science.nasa.gov/astrophysics/focus-areas/what-is-dark-energy/


Antimatter: is matter made from antiparticles (duh?) So the followup question would be: what are antiparticles? well, now we’re getting into Quantum Physics so buckle in! [side note, CERN has several definitions for these small scale phenomenon available at their ATLAS experiments glossary (link here).]

Antiparticle: has the same mass as its partner particle, but the opposite charge. This charge could be either the electric charge in electromagnetism or the color charge in quantum chromodynamics. When a particle meets its antiparticle it “evaporates“. A nice gif of particle - antiparticle annihilation (credit & source):

Quick Quantum Rundown: There are 2 classifications of particles in QM (Quantum Mechanics)

  • Fermions: any particle that follows the Fermi-Dirac statistic models. Fermions include all Quarks and Leptons. All of these have a property know as odd-half-integer spin (not important to the casual person).
    • Quark: 3 of these combine to form Hadrons - such as Protons and Neutrons. More info here:
    • Lepton: this is a particle that has only half-integer spin. The best known example of these are electrons.
  • Bosons: any particle that follows the Bose-Eisenstein statistics models. Bosons are either elementary or composite.
    • Elementary: An elementary particle such as a photon
    • Composite: Most Bosons are composite. Such as the four gauge bosons (γ · g · Z · ) and the Higgs boson (H0).

For those of you who like charts:

Dark Matter: is a hypothetical kind of matter that does not interact with the electromagnetic spectrum. Because dark matter does not emits or absorbs light we can only measure it indirectly. It is, without a doubt, one of the greatest mysteries in modern Astrophysics.

It is mostly related to large scale structures within our cosmos. There seems to be more dark matter than actual matter within out universe.

This Video Shows how dark matter clubs form in large scale structures:


[ credit: http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/universe/uni_matter.html ]

About “Anti-gravity”: sorry to disappoint you but it doesn’t technically exist. However, anti-gravity is hypothetically the theorized graviton is discovered. For “false gravity“ applications in human space flight you can read this previous ask: Rotating Torus in human space flight. I think you may find that interesting if you’re trying to find a way to “cheat“ gravity. 

P.S. A serious shout out to all of my followers who ask me the best questions, I’m sorry I can’t answer them all but I will try my best to answer them when I can as best as I can. You are all seriously awesome curious people! Thanks for the great questions & support!