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4

Mysteriously Quiet Space Baffles Researchers

“The emission of gravitational waves in these systems is a consequence of Einstein’s theory of General Relativity. Combine the existing observations with the calculation for the emission, and you get an estimate for the background noise from gravitational waves. The pulsar timing measurements we make from pulsars within our own galaxy should be sensitive to this noise from the gravitational waves. But the new measurement — the null result — is inconsistent with all existing models for the gravitational wave background in this frequency range.”

We live in a Universe full of galaxies, supermassive black holes, and violence. The violence is particularly relevant here, because every so often, these galaxies merge, and if they each contain a supermassive black hole, the gravitational wave “ripples” that get sent through space will literally shake and affect everything that’s in them. If you had a perfect clock — something that kept time perfectly that you could watch “tick” — you’d expect to see the timing of these ticks be affected. Astrophysics gives us these clocks: millisecond pulsars, in great abundance. Yet the Parkes Pulsar Timing Array project has just completed an 11-year survey of thousands of them, and found no evidence of the gravitational waves they were expecting.

4

New Record Set For Brightest Galaxy In The Universe

“Put all of these facts together, and you’ve got two options for the most luminous galaxy in the Universe:

1.) it would either be a very, very young, blue galaxy undergoing a very large starburst, or
2.) it would be a somewhat redder galaxy whose central black hole is undergoing tremendous, sustained activity.”

How the brightest galaxy in the Universe got to be that way, and why it won’t stay that way for long.