astronomy

Amazing shot of the northern lights dancing over Denali National Park in Alaska. In this pic, the aurora borealis shares the night sky with a meteor, the constellation Orion and Jupiter. Photo courtesy of Dan Leifheit.

Ancient Quasar Pulses With The Light Of A Million Billion Suns

Astronomers have discovered a monster black hole at the cosmic dawn of our Universe powering an ultraluminous, high-energy quasar.

The huge black hole has a mass 12 billion times that of the Sun and its associated quasar pumps out energy a million billion times that of the Sun.

Quasars are formed as the central supermassive black hole sucks in surrounding materials and gases, which heats up and emits a tremendous amount of light, so much that it actually push away the material getting sucked in behind it. It is quasars that limit the growth of black holes, which is one of the reasons why this ultraluminous quasar around this gigantic black hole is so puzzling.

The other reason is how ancient they are. The quasar is in the high redshift of light, which is a measure of how much the wavelength of the light has been stretched by the expansion of the Universe before it reaches us here on Earth. Using this measure, scientists are able to date quasars and they’ve put this one in the early cosmic dawn, just 900 million years after the Big Bang.

Astronomers Discover A Supermassive Black Hole Dating To Cosmic Dawn

"SDSS J0100+2802 is the rather understated name scientists have given to an exceptionally luminous, newly discovered quasar. It’s 12.8 billion light years away and shines as brightly as 420 million suns. At its center, there’s a super-sized black hole — as massive as 12 billion suns — that formed some 900 million years after the Big Bang.

It’s far larger than any other known black hole, and astronomers aren’t sure how it grew so big so fast.”

Read more at npr.

The signs as completely unrelated things

Aries: ceiling fan

Taurus: Portland, Oregon 

Gemini: a blue whale named Dave 

Cancer: The phantom of the opera 

Leo: drinks out of mason jars probably

Virgo: has ascended the three dimensional plane, also a giant nerd 

Libra: Eggshell white 

Scorpio: I love you, you giant asshole

Sagittarius: the science of cooking

Capricorn: A beautiful lie by 30 seconds to mars

Aquarius: bees??

Pisces: hundreds of hot chocolate packets scattered across the room 

Dark Energy Camera Catches Breathtaking Glimpse of Comet Lovejoy


On December 27, 2014, while scanning the southern sky as part of the Dark Energy Survey, researchers snapped the above shot of comet Lovejoy. The image above was captured using the 570-megapixel Dark Energy Camera, the world’s most powerful digital camera. Each of the rectangular shapes above represents one of the 62 individual fields of the camera.

At the time this image was taken, the comet was passing about 51 million miles from Earth – a short distance for the Dark Energy Camera, which is sensitive to light up to 8 billion light years away. The comet’s center is a ball of ice roughly three miles across, and the visible head of the comet is a cloud of gas and dust about 400,000 miles in diameter.

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Does Dark Matter Cause Extinctions?

New discoveries into two weird things that may have played havoc with the ancient solar system: dark matter and a wandering star.