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Colliding Galaxies Reveal Colossal Black Holes

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the duck-and-cover dept.

Space 134

Matt_dk writes "New observations made with the Submillimeter Array of telescopes in Hawaii suggest that black holes — thought to exist in many, if not all, galaxies — were common even in the early Universe, when galaxies were just beginning to form. Astronomers have found two very different galaxies in the distant Universe, both with colossal black holes at their hearts, involved in a spectacular collision."

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First Post muhahahahaha (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25401443)

First Post

Re:First Post muhahahahaha (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25401493)

You could have at least made a goatse reference. Damn it man, it was right *there*.

Re:First Post muhahahahaha (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25401553)

The opportunity was left wide open!

First Wall Street Black Hole for Savings and Home. (0, Troll)

Erris (531066) | more than 4 years ago | (#25401783)

Did that guy work for AIG? Why do I feel that way about "Wall Street" now?

Watch the fireworks as large banks merge with governments around the world. I told you trading with China would make us slaves like them more than it would them free. Pervasive spying, corruption and government ownership, the picture is nearly complete. Who owns your house now, eh?

Apparently. . . (5, Funny)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 4 years ago | (#25401483)

the web site has become a black hole as well.

Re:Apparently. . . (3, Informative)

drerwk (695572) | more than 4 years ago | (#25401571)

I saw it. It is a press release. I even googled for a image of the spectacular collision; no joy. You be better off reading Finnegan's Wake. Though I prefer Conrad's Heart of Darkness.

Re:Apparently. . . (3, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#25401699)

It was particularly evil to have the link in the words 'spectacular collision' :/

Re:Apparently. . . (5, Funny)

gnick (1211984) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402001)

I wanted pictures of the black holes. Black hole photography can be pretty tricky - None of my pictures ever seem to come out. Just can't seem to get enough exposure on the film...

Re:Apparently. . . (5, Funny)

danieltdp (1287734) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402481)

You can always get closer for better pictures.

Re:Apparently. . . (1)

danieltdp (1287734) | more than 4 years ago | (#25404541)

Cmon guys, I meant closer to the black hole. This is not insightful at all!

Re:Apparently. . . (1)

cmacb (547347) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402583)

Many amateur photographers have difficulty not to letting their thumb rest on top of the lens.

Although in this case that might actually be the best place for it.

Re:Apparently. . . (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25402533)

pics or it didn't happen...

Re:Apparently. . . (5, Funny)

Warhawke (1312723) | more than 4 years ago | (#25401599)

Two colossal voids at the edge of the universe, you say? It seems that they've found the former locations of the RIAA's and MPAA's heart.

Re:Apparently. . . (3, Funny)

Emb3rz (1210286) | more than 4 years ago | (#25401713)

Would it really be fair to say they ever approached colossal?

Re:Apparently. . . (3, Funny)

MikeDirnt69 (1105185) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402809)

Would it really be fair to say they ever approached colossal?

They have to approach 'heart' first.

Re:Apparently. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25403999)

I see you are working with the idea-ball system like the family guy writers.

Re:Apparently. . . (5, Informative)

Coldmoon (1010039) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402245)

Found a site with an article about this and it even has a picture...

http://www.stfc.ac.uk/KE/Ind/SubArrBH.aspx [stfc.ac.uk]

Re:Apparently. . . (2, Informative)

prgrmr (568806) | more than 4 years ago | (#25403663)

The picture is not a photograph, it is an artist's imagining of the event, and not a very good one at that.

Re:Apparently. . . (2, Informative)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 4 years ago | (#25403677)

And for anyone else who was fooled, when the parent says "picture" he means it.

It is not a photograph. It is a rendition of what some artist thinks it'd look like.

Sing it with me (-1, Offtopic)

djupedal (584558) | more than 4 years ago | (#25401515)

Theres a hole in my heart
That can only be filled by you
And this hole in my heart
Cant be filled with the things I do

Hole hearted
Hole hearted

This heart of stone is where I hide
These feet of clay kept warm inside
Day by day less satisfied
Not fade away before I die

Rivers flow into the sea
Yet even the sea is not so full of me
If Im not blind why cant I see
That a circle cant fit
Where a square should be

Theres a hole in my heart
That can only be filled by you
And this hole in my heart
Cant be filled with the things I do
Theres a hole in my heart
That can only be filled by you
And this hole in my heart
Cant be filled with the things I do

Hole hearted

Re:Sing it with me (1)

MikeDirnt69 (1105185) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402855)

And now, for the headbangers:

Hole in the sky, take me to heaven
Window in time, through it I fly
Yeah

Re:Sing it with me (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 4 years ago | (#25405423)

Black Hole Sun... Won't you come... and wash away the rain?

"spectacular collision" with no photos = FAIL (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25401537)

Pictures please!
Or would that be considered "galaxy pron" ?

Re:"spectacular collision" with no photos = FAIL (5, Funny)

jemtallon (1125407) | more than 4 years ago | (#25401575)

Yeah! Where's the pictures of the huge black holes from which light doesn't escape!

Re:"spectacular collision" with no photos = FAIL (5, Funny)

Xorlev (1387293) | more than 4 years ago | (#25401687)

There was an excellent picture taken before the light was all sucked up, however the photographer got a bit too caught up in his subject and is stuck in the moment.

Re:"spectacular collision" with no photos = FAIL (3, Informative)

Erris (531066) | more than 4 years ago | (#25401811)

Look for Xrays and you will see them.

Re:"spectacular collision" with no photos = FAIL (1)

jemtallon (1125407) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402751)

Stop fighting me with your relentless logic!

The article mentined glowing blackholes though!??? (1)

SargentDU (1161355) | more than 4 years ago | (#25401931)

WTH is that? Just a metaphor?

Re:The article mentined glowing blackholes though! (1)

somethingwicked (260651) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402063)

I knew a girl once that I would say had a glowing blackhole...it really was spectacular. OHHHHH /andrewdiceclayvoice

Re:The article mentined glowing blackholes though! (2, Informative)

dwye (1127395) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402643)

The accretion disks glow. Actually, the black hole glows, but at a temperature far too low to care, thanks to Hawking Radiation.

Re:"spectacular collision" with no photos = FAIL (1)

kungfugleek (1314949) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402603)

"spectacular collision" -- the root word of "spectacular" being "spectacle", which implies something you can see...

thought maybe two swirling pools of stars merging together would make a good desktop wallpaper. alas....

Re:"spectacular collision" with no photos = FAIL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25403759)

Yeah! Where's the pictures of the huge black holes from which light doesn't escape!

Right here [your-mom.com] .

Re:"spectacular collision" with no photos = FAIL (0, Redundant)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 4 years ago | (#25403815)

I have been able to, with much effort, photograph this collision in all it's glory and wonder.

http://img366.imageshack.us/my.php?image=blackholecollisionhy5.jpg [imageshack.us]

You can clearly see the larger black hole in the upper right hand portion and the slightly smaller one in the bottom left hand side.

Re:"spectacular collision" with no photos = FAIL (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#25403907)

Cool! Yeah, I had trouble finding them at first, but then I realised I needed to click to show it at the original size.

Re:"spectacular collision" with no photos = FAIL (4, Informative)

tcoder70 (1051640) | more than 4 years ago | (#25401709)

Pictures??? Video is better! Ok a simulation is better than nothing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVgPplOgB1g [youtube.com]

Re:"spectacular collision" with no photos = FAIL (0, Offtopic)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402049)

Will goatse do?

It doesn't seem that surprising. (4, Interesting)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#25401613)

I don't think that discovering early black holes is all that surprising given that concentrations of matter were much greater early on.

What I want to know, is how did the universe expand beyond its own swartzchild radius?

Re:It doesn't seem that surprising. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25401651)

Because it was created.

Re:It doesn't seem that surprising. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25402373)

OOPS that's not an answer because it explains NOTHING.

Throughout human history we have had morons such as yourself declaring 'GOD DID IT' 'IT WAS CREATED!!!' 'SUPREME BEING!!!' and they have been proven wrong time and again. But not without first delaying the progress of human knowledge by CENTURIES with their bullshit, lies, torture, and homocide.

Re:It doesn't seem that surprising. (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 4 years ago | (#25401995)

If one considers the law that matter/energy can neither be created or destroyed, the answer would have to be that the universe is just the exit point for the blackhole preceding it. And so on. You've heard of the infinite loop? ;)

Re:It doesn't seem that surprising. (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402341)

I'm not following you at all - matter going into a black "hole" doesn't get destroyed. There's no need for it to "come out" anywhere It's not literally a "hole" - it's just an indredibly (unfathomably) dense object.

Technically the black "hole" in the center of our galaxy is still a little spherical ball of matter and energy just like any other object - it's just that the density is high enough that gravity starts to behave strangely close to it.

Re:It doesn't seem that surprising. (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402523)

Exactly.

Compress it all into a neat little ball, and at some point, that ball will go bang. Maybe a Big Bang. What do time and other dimensional characteristics look like after the event? Something like us?

Re:It doesn't seem that surprising. (2, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#25403207)

Compress it all into a neat little ball, and at some point, that ball will go bang.

Actually the evidence suggests that you if you keep compressing the ball a bang becomes very unlikely. Once matter is pile onto the singularity, about the only way it seems to come back off it through Hawking Radiation, which is more of a "Little, Slow, Trickle" than a Big Bang.

Re:It doesn't seem that surprising. (2, Interesting)

Xcruciate (261968) | more than 4 years ago | (#25403431)

I have always thought that this might be the case. I think that space/time is infinite. In our little corner of this infinite void, we have our "universe" of matter and energy (galaxies, dark matter, etc.). A black hole forms and creates a singularity which sucks in matter and energy. One has to ask where that stuff goes. I surmise that the singularity just punches a hole in the fabric of space/time and dumps the matter/energy into another corner of the infinite space/time, thus creating a "big bang" and another universe somewhere else (another dimension, perhaps) and that this is a never ending cycle. I just think that "our" Big Bang is the result of this cycle.

Re:It doesn't seem that surprising. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25401997)

I don't think that discovering early black holes is all that surprising given that concentrations of matter were much greater early on.

What I want to know, is how did the universe expand beyond its own swartzchild radius?

if the universe didnt expand beyond it's schwarzschild radius it wouldnt be expanding would it

Re:It doesn't seem that surprising. (2, Interesting)

pokerdad (1124121) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402005)

What I want to know, is how did the universe expand beyond its own swartzchild radius?

Depending on what you take the mass of the universe to be (and age too), we may not have hit it yet.

Re:It doesn't seem that surprising. (1)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402019)

I know it's really easy to, after the fact, say "I knew that all along," but now it's +5 Insightfull? Guess what? Saying "that was obvious" is not how science works! There were lots of scientist who thought it was "obvious" that there would be black holes, and a lot who thought it was "obvious" that there wouldn't be; so this result, despite your dismissive attitude, is news. But even if that WEREN'T the case, it's still good science to find out for CERTAIN something we, thusfar, were only able to ASSUME.

And to answer your question, by expanding faster than light. Obviously.

Re:It doesn't seem that surprising. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25402041)

I don't think that discovering early black holes is all that surprising given that concentrations of matter were much greater early on.

What I want to know, is how did the universe expand beyond its own swartzchild radius?

How do we know it did?

Re:It doesn't seem that surprising. (5, Interesting)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402093)

What I want to know, is how did the universe expand beyond its own swartzchild radius?

It didn't.

To compute the Schwarzschild radius [wikipedia.org] of the universe, we need to know its mass. Recent measurements suggest that the universe is flat [wikipedia.org] , and so may have infinite mass. However at a minimum we can count up the mass within the observable universe [wikipedia.org] . The observable stars in the universe have a mass of ~2*10^52, but they are overwhelmed by dark matter, which brings the total mass within our observation volume to ~4*10^53 kg. So the Schwarzschild radius for the universe is:

r = (2*G*m)/(c^2) = 2*(6.7E-11 m^3kg^-1s^-2)*(4E53 kg)/(3E8 m/s)^2 = 6E26 m = 60 billion light-years.

Since the observable universe is ~46 billion light-years in radius, this means that the Schwarzschild radius of the universe is bigger than what we consider to be "the universe." In other words, we are well within the Schwarzschild radius, leading some people to describe the universe itself as a massive black hole that we are actually inside of.

The universe probably has a mass larger than what we can observe, making the radius even larger than the above estimate. If the universe truly has infinite mass, then the radius is infinite. In other words, the universe may not have a Schwarzschild radius at all.

This is also a decent description. [nasa.gov]

Re:It doesn't seem that surprising. (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402801)

Since the observable universe is ~46 billion light-years in radius, this means that the Schwarzschild radius of the universe is bigger than what we consider to be "the universe." In other words, we are well within the Schwarzschild radius, leading some people to describe the universe itself as a massive black hole that we are actually inside of.

Not according to the Wiki [wikipedia.org] ...

The Schwarzschild radius (sometimes historically referred to as the gravitational radius) is a characteristic radius associated with every mass. It is the radius for a given mass where, if that mass could be compressed to fit within that radius, no known force or degeneracy pressure could stop it from continuing to collapse into a gravitational singularity.

If the universe is smaller than its Schwarzschild radius, it should collapse into a singularity. It hasn't, so it apparently isn't.

Re:It doesn't seem that surprising. (1)

Wavebreak (1256876) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402911)

Give it time.

Re:It doesn't seem that surprising. (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#25403015)

The universe is supposedly expanding, not collapsing.

Re:It doesn't seem that surprising. (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#25403251)

The universe is supposedly expanding, not collapsing.

What if you view it from the perspective of how objects would appear to have a redshift, if they were all accelerating toward a central point.

Take a massive gravitational force: A
Objects B, C, and D are arranged in a line extending from Object A. A to B is the same distance from B to C. Initially all points are at rest.

If A were something massive, B, C, and D would all appear to have a redshift relative to each other. Although they are all accelerating toward A, because the distance between A and B is less than the distance between A and C and A and D, the acceleration due to gravity would look like this: B>C>D. Thus B would appear to be acclerating away from C and D from the perspective of C and D. Likewise, C and D would appear to be accelerating away from B from the perspective of B (Even though B,C,and D would all be getting closer from the perspective of A).

That isn't intended to be anywhere near a scientific description of what it would 'look' like inside a black hole, but it is a fun little perspective brain teaser. (If I typed it correctly. It is much easier with a whiteboard)

Re:It doesn't seem that surprising. (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 4 years ago | (#25405481)

Two words, Holy Shit!

  IANAA (I Am Not An Astrophysicist) but what if there never was a Big Bang? The Universe started as a continuum of random information that just suddenly came to existence (or suddenly started to physically interact, or was suddenly transported from another universe or leaked whatever)

  I mean, we AFAIK we have no other reason to suspect a big bang than the fact that the universe has a apparent center an that matter is running away from it.

  If the center was simply the "Schwarzschild center" of a large body of mass and the "run away" effect is caused by relativistic contortions... maybe there wasn't a Big Bang after all...

 

Re:It doesn't seem that surprising. (3, Informative)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 4 years ago | (#25404407)

If the universe is smaller than its Schwarzschild radius, it should collapse into a singularity. It hasn't, so it apparently isn't.

As mentioned here [nasa.gov] , the concept of a Schwarzschild radius is one limiting case of Einstein's equations of general relativity. It is a useful concept with various rules-of-thumb, but one must be careful in applying it to all situations. In particular, the approximation breaks down, and a full treatment using the equations of general relativity is instead necessary, for "extreme" situations (like inside a black hole, during the big bang, when applied to the entire universe, etc.).

More specifically (this site seems to explain it somewhat [ucr.edu] ), the "Schwarzschild black hole" is just one solution to the equations of general relativity--it is a limiting case for nominally static matter (that is also non-rotating, spherically symmetric). Other solutions are required in other cases (e.g. the Kerr solution for rotating black holes [wikipedia.org] ). The Schwarzschild solution doesn't apply to dynamic systems (e.g. rapidly expanding matter). In particular the big bang and subsequent expansion of the universe represent a different solution to the equations of GR. This solution provides for a roughly flat space but massive expansion (hence highly curved spacetime, as one would expect for such high mass-density). Our best understanding suggests that inflation [wikipedia.org] occurred (where space was expanding faster than the speed of light, although light/energy/matter/information was still constrained by c).

In my previous post I was just pointing out that the expected size for the Schwarzschild radius is very large. However that is based on a naive application of the usual rules-of-thumb. The big bang, if you will, is extreme enough that it requires a more careful treatment. Moreover, our best data right now suggests that the universe is roughly flat and infinite (and thus with infinite or at least extremely large mass), meaning that there is probably no meaningful way to apply the "Schwarzschild radius" concept to it.

Disclaimer: I'm not a cosmologist. Hopefully I didn't make a mistake.

Re:It doesn't seem that surprising. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25405005)

Well, "collapsing into a gravitational singularity" is the problem here. AFAIK, this just means that "nothing outside of the radius can interact with whatever's inside, except via gravity".

You can try to apply physics to determine what happens to things inside, but that's a bit tricky because you can't verify it (see previous paragraph).

So if you restrict the meaning of collapse to "you can't interact with it anymore", then you can apply that just fine for the Universe: by definition, things outside it can't interact with things inside (otherwise they would be _in_ the Universe).

Re:It doesn't seem that surprising. (4, Interesting)

gnick (1211984) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402095)

Schwarzschild radius: [wikipedia.org]

The Schwarzschild radius (sometimes historically referred to as the gravitational radius) is a characteristic radius associated with every mass. It is the radius for a given mass where, if that mass could be compressed to fit within that radius, no known force or degeneracy pressure could stop it from continuing to collapse into a gravitational singularity.

Thanks a lot... Before I was peacefully ignorant, but now you've tossed out a perfectly good question and revealed to me yet another topic for my List of Things I Know That I Don't Know...

Re:It doesn't seem that surprising. (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#25403073)

Thanks a lot... Before I was peacefully ignorant...

As long as you don't learn what you do not know about something "abnormal, non-Euclidean, and loathsomely redolent of spheres and dimensions apart from ours" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cthulhu [wikipedia.org] , perhaps we may all remain peacefully ignorant. :)

Re:It doesn't seem that surprising. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402487)

What I want to know, is how did the universe expand beyond its own swartzchild radius?

Man, for a moment I thought you were making a Spaceballs [imdb.com] joke, instead of a physics [wikipedia.org] reference. :-P

Cheers

What I want to know. (2, Interesting)

AgentPhunk (571249) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402695)

Is how to answer my 5-year old's question of: "Ok, but whats outside the universe?"

She gets solar systems, and has a pretty good handle on galaxies and that there are lots and lots of them. I'm still trying to explain the Big Bang, and keep getting hung up on what the universe is expanding INTO.

I know, even us Big People don't have a good answer, but what the heck do you tell a kid?

Re:What I want to know. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25403077)

http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=274 [cornell.edu]

seems a good explanation to me ( the stretching sheet rubber part at least, or how things can grow apart without adding more rubber )

Re:What I want to know. (1)

Darth (29071) | more than 4 years ago | (#25403115)

Don't worry. If she hasn't gotten the big bang by the time she graduates high school, she'll almost certainly get it in college.

Re:What I want to know. (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#25403187)

Oh, I don't know... you could always let her believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and God until she's old enough to decide on her own whether they're real?

Re:What I want to know. (1)

SBacks (1286786) | more than 4 years ago | (#25403229)

There is nothing outside the universe.

And, I don't mean emptiness. I mean nothingness.

So, the universe is expanding, but its not expanding into anything, it just is.

Re:It doesn't seem that surprising. (1)

DanOrc451 (1302609) | more than 4 years ago | (#25403423)

Okay, err, not to be ignorant here, but where did the other black holes GO? How do they "die?"

A quick look at the wikipedia article before my boss yelled at me to get back to work was not very enlightening.

"Spectacular collision"? (4, Funny)

NoNeeeed (157503) | more than 4 years ago | (#25401629)

Much like the collision between a server full of astronomy pictures and slashdot.

Nothing survives.

Oh, and as the mass increases, time slows down in the vicinity. Or at least that's how it seems.

Very simple, actually (0, Troll)

djupedal (584558) | more than 4 years ago | (#25401639)

Upon following a river to the sea, ancient man may have thought, "Look! The blue blood of the Mother Earth flows in, but nothing comes out! There is no way to escape the giant hole in our world!"

The concept of going out into such a massive and unyielding force would have seemed like welcoming death itself. "Don't go! You will never come back!"

Today, we take the same myopic and uninformed view. "Don't go into the black hole at the center of our galaxy! You'll disappear forever!"

Re:Very simple, actually (3, Funny)

jdunn14 (455930) | more than 4 years ago | (#25401855)

Lead on, we're right behind you.

Re:Very simple, actually (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#25401907)

Feel free to go for a galactic swim, oh great enlightened one.

You should be able to get there just by jumping, since gravity holds no power over you!

Re:Very simple, actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25401939)

Yes, as his opinion holds no weight he can feel free to take a flying leap!

Re:Very simple, actually (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402029)

Eventually he will actually find out that black holes really do suck.

Re:Very simple, actually (1)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402197)

At least the snuggle afterward.

Re:Very simple, actually (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402431)

Upon following a river to the sea, ancient man may have thought, "Look! The blue blood of the Mother Earth flows in, but nothing comes out! There is no way to escape the giant hole in our world!"

Well boy howdy, that would have been one unobservant ancient man to not notice driftwood, shells, crabs, and seaweed that gets washed up on the beach.

Seen any driftwood coming out of black holes?

Re:Very simple, actually (3, Insightful)

eggstasy (458692) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402557)

I would encourage you to study what a black hole actually is, rather than trusting some random sci-fi author's unsubstantiated notion that the layman's term "hole" must mean "magical portal to another dimension".
Our present equations yield a value of "infinite" when solved for the conditions believed to exist at the center of a black hole. This is likely to only mean that our equations are buggy and need fixing.
It is not the opinion of most scientists that anything special would happen inside a black hole. If you could somehow build an infinitely resilient spaceship that could somehow shield you from the effects of extreme gravity, and assuming we are wrong about the speed of light, and that you could possibly go faster than it, the most you would be able to do with a black hole would be to go in and out of the event horizon unscathed, or perhaps bang into whatever form of extremely compressed matter exists at its center. We have no reason to believe otherwise - wormholes, however prevalent they may be in the realm of science fiction, are just an unlikely hypothesis in the world of real science. For them to exist, strange forms of matter with negative density would have to be discovered, and nobody but the wishful thinkers seriously believes in that.
(I am not a physicist, however, and as such I welcome factual corrections and additions to this post)

Re:Very simple, actually (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#25403315)

Upon following a river to the sea, ancient man may have thought, "Look! The blue blood of the Mother Earth flows in, but nothing comes out! There is no way to escape the giant hole in our world!"

No ancient man ever thought that. See, ancient man knew what fish were.

Today, we take the same myopic and uninformed view. "Don't go into the black hole at the center of our galaxy! You'll disappear forever!"

Well modern thinking is that you wouldn't necessarily disappear forever; the energy that used to be you would be released as Hawking Radiation at some point.

But who really cares if you'd disappear forever or not when in the process of entering the hole in the first place tidal forces would rip you apart into a stream of particles? Or are you imagining that some miraculous force on the "other side" would put you back together?

In those galaxies (1)

johannesg (664142) | more than 4 years ago | (#25401655)

...must be millions of inhabited worlds, each populated by beings that believed themselves to be the center of the very universe, each believing that their existence had so much significance on the cosmic scale that this would not happen to them.

Instead they find themselves in the most sucky situation in the entire galaxy...

Re:In those galaxies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25402091)

shut up you stupid neocon asshat.

Re:In those galaxies (2, Insightful)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402143)

I guess these events happen in the million year range, so they may have had enough time to evolve and escape.

Re:In those galaxies (1)

hvm2hvm (1208954) | more than 4 years ago | (#25403129)

Or kill themselves like some idiots we talk about some times.

Highlights from TFA (5, Informative)

Emb3rz (1210286) | more than 4 years ago | (#25401673)

4C60.07 - the first of the galaxies to be discovered - came to astronomers' attention because of its bright radio emission. This radio signature is one telltale sign of a quasar - a black hole, spinning rapidly, feeding on its parent galaxy. A new image captures the moment, approximately 12 billion years ago, when this galaxy ripped a stream of dusty gas from a neighbour.

"This new image reveals two galaxies where we only expected to find one," said Professor Rob Ivison ... "Remarkably, both galaxies contain super-massive black holes, each capable of powering a billion, billion, billion light bulbs. The implications are wide reaching: you can't help wondering how many other colossal black holes may be lurking unseen in the distant Universe?"

Due to the finite speed of light, we see the two galaxies as they collided in the distant past, less than 2 billion years after the Big Bang. By now the galaxies will have merged to create a football-shaped elliptical galaxy. Their black holes are likely to have merged to form a single monstrously large black hole.

"These two galaxies are fraternal twins. Both are about the size of the Milky Way, but each one is unique"

From the thats-a-lot-of-lightbulbs department?

Highlights from TheF**kingAccident. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25402235)

Something to think about. The presence of black holes could reduce the chance that there's life out there. Not just the "suck up everything" aspect, but the high amounts of ionizing radiation spewing out. Most people really don't realize just how harsh space is.

Re:Highlights from TFA (1)

kjllmn (1337665) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402737)

What does "super-massive" in "super-massive black holes" mean? It's the opposite of a black hole light (light as in Coke light)?

Re:Highlights from TFA (1)

mapsjanhere (1130359) | more than 4 years ago | (#25403467)

It means a black hole of galaxy center dimensions, usually several million solar masses. There is a minimum mass for stable black holes, which was frequently quoted in the discussion on whether or not the LHC can produce an Earth-absorbing black hole. It's not near the energies available in the LHC, but you can have a "light" black hole of some solar mass as a result of the collapse of individual neutron stars if I recall
What really got me in tfa was the "merged black holes" so. Do black holes actually merge, or do the two of them just circle each other endlessly behind their united event horizons?

Re:Highlights from TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25402747)

Remarkably, both galaxies contain super-massive black holes, each capable of powering a billion, billion, billion light bulbs. The implications are wide reaching...

What a stupid comparison. Our sun is already capable of that hands down! And actually, a super massive black hole would power a zillion, zillion, zillion, zillion, zillion light bulbs. Of course, that wouldn't be of much use if the black hole sucks the light back...

Re:Highlights from TFA (2, Funny)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402819)

Remarkably, both galaxies contain super-massive black holes, each capable of powering a billion, billion, billion light bulbs. The implications are wide reaching

- yes, the implications are wide reaching. Where exactly are we going to get that many light bulbs from? We can't just let all that energy go to waste. Did anyone notice Usama bin Laden in close vicinity to the black hole? If so, can we please notify Bush?

Re:Highlights from TFA (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 4 years ago | (#25405041)

From the thats-a-lot-of-lightbulbs department?

Sounds more like the Eye of Harmony to me.

TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25401707)

New observations made with the Submillimeter Array of telescopes in Hawaii suggest that black holes -- thought to exist in many, if not all, galaxies -- were common even in the early Universe, when galaxies were just beginning to form. Astronomers have found two very different galaxies in the distant Universe, both with colossal black holes at their heart, involved in a spectacular collision.

4C60.07 -- the first of the galaxies to be discovered -- came to astronomers' attention because of its bright radio emission. This radio signature is one telltale sign of a quasar -- a black hole, spinning rapidly, feeding on its parent galaxy. A new image captures the moment, approximately 12 billion years ago, when this galaxy ripped a stream of dusty gas from a neighbour.

When 4C60.07 was first studied, astronomers thought that gas surrounding its black hole was undergoing a burst of star formation, turning virgin gas into stars at a remarkable rate -- the equivalent of 5,000 of our Suns every year. This prodigious activity was revealed by the infrared glow from smoky debris in which the largest stars rapidly die.

The latest research, exploiting the keen vision possible with the Submillimeter Array, revealed a surprise: 4C60.07 is not forming stars after all. Indeed, its stars may well be relatively old and quiescent. Instead, the prodigious star formation is taking place in a previously unknown companion galaxy, which is rich in gas and deeply enshrouded in dust, and has another colossal black hole glowing as its centre.

"This new image reveals two galaxies where we only expected to find one," said Professor Rob Ivison at the Science and Technology Facilities Council's UK Astronomy Technology Centre in Edinburgh, lead author of the study that will be published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. "Remarkably, both galaxies contain super-massive black holes, each capable of powering a billion, billion, billion light bulbs. The implications are wide reaching: you can't help wondering how many other colossal black holes may be lurking unseen in the distant Universe?"

"It seems we were led to pluck the radio galaxy and its neighbour from the countless millions of objects in the sky because they are involved in a rare collision."

Due to the finite speed of light, we see the two galaxies as they collided in the distant past, less than 2 billion years after the Big Bang. By now the galaxies will have merged to create a football-shaped elliptical galaxy. Their black holes are likely to have merged to form a single monstrously large black hole.

"The superb resolution of the Submillimeter Array was key to our discovery," said Steve Willner of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, a co-author of the paper. "These two galaxies are fraternal twins. Both are about the size of the Milky Way, but each one is unique."

Dr Glenn Morrison, an astronomer at the Institute for Astronomy and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope in Hawaii, added "Understanding the prevalence of black holes in the early years of the Universe will rely on combining information from across the whole electromagnetic spectrum".

Professor Ian Smail at Durham University said "The UK's revolutionary new submillimetre camera, SCUBA2, should find many more of these distant starbursts when it is commissioned later this year -- allowing us to track the growth of black holes and their host galaxies in much more detail".

#irc.trollta1lk.Com (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25401921)

recruitment, bbut

Pictures of Black Holes... hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25401983)

"Look, a picture of a Black Hole!"

"Where?"

"Right there, on that monitor!! The computer on the left there! Look!"

"But there's nothing there...it's...?"

"No, really, that's a photograph, I swear, a real photo of black hole, a COLLISION of black holes! I just downloaded it now, took forever to get to the site."

"Dude, that's my screensaver going into sleep mode"

"Wait, you're right, it was the other computer screen on the right. Sorry. They look sort of the same."

"The computer isn't on."

"But it is really black, no? Amazing what science does these days. Gotta show my dad; he was always into astronomy."

i have a black hole... (-1, Offtopic)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402193)

a big, mean old ancient black hole for my bitter republican heart and a gigantic void of doom for my angry republican soul!

Not Again! (1)

tbully (1055320) | more than 4 years ago | (#25402939)

Damnit. Who left the LHC turned on again!? How many times do I have to say it? When you leave the room please turn off the Large Hadron Collider.

Layman's question (2, Interesting)

BCGlorfindel (256775) | more than 4 years ago | (#25403019)

I know I aught be able to work this out myself, but I'm not sure if general newtonian calculations would be accurate. Is it possible to orbit a black hole from inside the event horizon if it is big enough? It seems intuitively obvious that if you can't achieve escape velocity you shouldn't be able to reach an orbital velocity either but I thought I'd see if someone was willing to give a more solid answer.

Re:Layman's question (3, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#25403135)

No.

Maintaining an outward velocity = c would keep you at the event horizon indefinitely. Add a sideways component and you'd be able to orbit, but at velocity > c. Anything lower and you'd need velocity > c just to maintain height, much less to orbit.

If you could go fast enough you might be able to make a few passes in some sort of collapsing orbit, but a stable orbit would be impossible.

Re:Layman's question (2, Funny)

BCGlorfindel (256775) | more than 4 years ago | (#25404767)


Maintaining an outward velocity = c would keep you at the event horizon indefinitely.

The concept of standing still while having an enormous velocity makes my head hurt and my heart long for obedience to Newtonian physics.

Re:Layman's question (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#25404825)

Yeah, reading it after I posted it made my head hurt too, but I still can't figure out if there's a better way of saying it... or even if it's correct... >.<

Who really wrote this article? (3, Funny)

Parris (1340575) | more than 4 years ago | (#25403091)

"Remarkably, both galaxies contain super-massive black holes, each capable of powering a billion, BILLION, BIIIILLLLLLIIIIIOOOOONNNNN light bulbs." Why do I feel like Dr. Evil coauthored this article?

ta3o (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25403215)

ca8 connect to nOTORIOUS OPENBSD

ripping dusty gas? (1)

h.ross.perot (1050420) | more than 4 years ago | (#25403661)

"this galaxy ripped a stream of dusty gas from a neighbour" Gee, and I got ticked when my neighbour nicked my cooking gas canister for his Bar b q.. Black holes and all that.. tsk, tsk ..

billions and billions.... (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 4 years ago | (#25405637)

âoeRemarkably, both galaxies contain super-massive black holes, each capable of powering a billion, billion, billion light bulbs."

Most people couldn't possibly conceive of such a number. Maybe they should tell us how many Libraries of Congress that number of bulbs could light.

Can we get a better frame of reference than that please?

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