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Astronomers Find Largest Known Extraterrestrial Water Reserve

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the sticking-with-fiji-water-for-now dept.

NASA 183

gerddie writes "Two teams of astronomers have discovered the largest and farthest reservoir of water ever detected in the universe. The water, equivalent to 140 trillion times all the water in the world's ocean, surrounds a huge, feeding black hole, called a quasar, more than 12 billion light-years away. One team, lead by Matt Bradford, made their observations starting in 2008, using an instrument called 'Z-Spec' at the California Institute of Technology's Submillimeter Observatory, a 33-foot (10-meter) telescope near the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Follow-up observations were made with the Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-Wave Astronomy (CARMA), an array of radio dishes in the Inyo Mountains of Southern California. The second group led, by Dariusz Lisused, used the Plateau de Bure Interferometer in the French Alps to find water. In 2010, this team serendipitously detected water in APM 8279+5255, observing one spectral signature. Bradford's team was able to get more information about the water, including its enormous mass, because they detected several spectral signatures of the water."

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The water will be gone (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36856930)

12 billion light years away means 12 billion years ago. That water will be scattered asunder by now.

Re:The water will be gone (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36856982)

12 billion light years away means 12 billion years ago. That water will be scattered asunder by now.

Very good, you almost understand relativity. Hint: the word "now" in your statement has no meaning.

Re:The water will be gone (2)

Mandelbrot-5 (471417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857144)

He may be correct, so long as he was using the correct place to measure time. "Now" is dependent on your frame of reference, if the frame of reference is earth then "now" there is a metric fuck-ton of water around that super massive black hole, if the frame of reference is there then there may be "now," a lot less. Who know's what "now" via an earth based frame of reference +12 billion years will hold.

Video of the explanation of "now" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857246)

This should explain to everyone what "now" is but not what "is" is:Explanation of "Now" [youtube.com]

Re:Video of the explanation of "now" (1)

jampola (1994582) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857690)

You guys are totally destroying my stoned mind right about now!

Re:The water will be gone (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857824)

Hint: the word "now" in your statement has no meaning.

Sure it does.

If I'm reading this then:

a) I exist
b) The event happened in my recent past.

That narrows it down to within a couple of dozen years from my point of view. That makes perfect sense to me.

Re:The water will be gone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857978)

a) I exist

Prove that with 100% accuracy.

Re:The water will be gone (1)

Sicily1918 (912141) | more than 3 years ago | (#36858228)

Sure it does.

If I'm reading this then:

a) I exist b) The event happened in my recent past.

That narrows it down to within a couple of dozen years from my point of view. That makes perfect sense to me.

So you don't understand cosmological terminology, then. "Now" means that whatever we see currently, regardless of how long ago it happened (i.e., regardless of distance), is occurring now.

Re:The water will be gone (4, Funny)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#36858380)

12 billion light years away means 12 billion years ago. That water will be scattered asunder by now.

The water will be gathered by the black hole, which is still there. The black hole may contain the rest of the ingredients for Kool Aid.

Not Useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36856932)

OK astronomers. Let's find some water in space that is actually useful to us. Maybe in our own solar system.

Re:Not Useful (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857074)

That's easy. The third planet from Sol has huge oceans of the stuff, and rivers of it that don't contain much salt at all.

Re:Not Useful (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857494)

Unfortunately a rather stupid sentient race located in Solspace rendered a good chunk of their rivers too polluted to use.

Re:Not Useful (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857918)

Unfortunately, all the other planets are viciously hostile, barren empty desolate rocks floating in a total vacuum. One of them has no magnetosphere, the other has an atmosphere, but rather too much of it. One of them is far too close to the Sun, the others are basically deadly balls of frozen gas. Looks like the stupid race (who has somehow managed to survive and even understand the universe) will have to make do on Earth.

Oh you silly Space Nutters and your melodramatic teenage angst. When will you grow up? :) Sigh.

that's a lot of water (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36856962)

we need to make a canal to bring it to earth

So, now if aliens show up looking for water (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36856966)

We can just point them to the giant water reserve in the sky. I'm sure they'll leave us alone.

Feeding? (5, Funny)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 3 years ago | (#36856986)

"surrounds a huge, feeding black hole"

In this particular case, I think it's a drinking black hole.
PA-DUM-PUM!

Re:Feeding? (1)

BSAtHome (455370) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857072)

I strongly suggest that they search for certain hydro-carbon compounds. "Drinking" black hole may have to be revised into "Drunk" black hole.

Re:Feeding? (5, Funny)

sribe (304414) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857130)

...may have to be revised into "Drunk" black hole.

Nah, I bet that black hole can hold its liquor ;-)

Re:Feeding? (2)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857266)

With added benefit of not having to pee.

Re:Feeding? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36858192)

black holes do take a long massive pee, they evaporate by Hawking radiation.

Re:Feeding? (1)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857452)

I met this "drinking black hole" on Wednesday....

I ain't drunk, I'm just drinkin... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857674)

Albert Collins, is that you!?

Bottled by Time Machine (1)

retroworks (652802) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857004)

"Quasar Springs, all natural reverse-spring water. Our time reversal process uses the natural opposite of springs to bring crisp taste to your table, fresh from not being inside a black hole yet, and at under 99 quadrillion bitcoins per serving."

Discoveries which are economically exploitable (like the discovery of North America) tend to generate more interest. Also and also to be ruined. We'd find some way to spill something into the ocean nebula.

Re:Bottled by Time Machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857032)

We'd find some way to spill something into the ocean nebula.

I say we develop the technology to send a probe capable of dropping to the water and merging a base-model bipodal DNA structure with other form of DNA contained in the environment. That'd be a neat experiment.

Re:Bottled by Time Machine (2)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857502)

"under 99 quadrillion bitcoins per serving" Or, in US currency, $4.35.

What is Earth? (1)

Vecanti (2384840) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857012)

For "Prior Art" Alex.

Damn you Trebeck!

Re:What is Earth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857136)

Ha ha! True. It's kinda interesting to find other water out there though. To bad we can't find a way to simply "remove the salt" and "transport" the massive amount of water we have infinitesimally closer in cosmic terms to water the deserts and get to people to drink that need it.

Don't know anything about astronomy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857034)

so, let me get this straight

1 light year is like 9,460,730,472,580.8 km
12 billion light years will be 9,460,730,472,580.8 * 12 billion = can't imagine how big this is ..........km away

By now, this black hole might not exist ??? and all the water is gone ?

Re:Don't know anything about astronomy (1)

jonr (1130) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857044)

Yes.

Re:Don't know anything about astronomy (1)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857140)

The black hole will still be there.

Re:Don't know anything about astronomy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857284)

Where? Where we observe it to be is where it was 12 billion years ago. Do you mean it will still exist? Probably. Will it still be where we observe it? Nope. Objects in our universe don't stand still.

Re:Don't know anything about astronomy (2)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857764)

There is no there there. If it was 12 billion lightyears away 12 billion years ago, light from here leaving now will never fall there. It's outside of our light cone. The space between here and there is expanding at a rate faster than the speed of light. This quasar no longer exists as anything but a now-mythical story told in photons.

Re:Don't know anything about astronomy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857162)

By now, this black hole might not exist ??? and all the water is gone ?

Define "now". Seems you got trapped by the idea of simultaneity, which does not exist in spacetime.

Re:Don't know anything about astronomy (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857342)

"Now" = the time it would be 12 billion light-years from here if we could relocate objects without pushing them around through the intervening space. There are other frameworks conceivable for looking at the universe besides spacetime. :)

Re:Don't know anything about astronomy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36858056)

You have been watching too much Star Trek. Conceivable != correct.

Giant Space Ocean? (5, Funny)

ChinggisK (1133009) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857038)

So basically, there's a freakin' huge ocean floating around (well, falling into a black hole) out in the middle of space? I submit that space is awesome.

Re:Giant Space Ocean? (2)

mmcuh (1088773) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857084)

Or at least there was, a couple of billion years after the big bang.

Re:Giant Space Ocean? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857104)

"300 trillion times less dense than Earth's atmosphere,"

Re:Giant Space Ocean? (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857356)

It's not really "in the middle of space". Off to one side a bit, actually.

Re:Giant Space Ocean? (2)

bledri (1283728) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857646)

It's not really "in the middle of space". Off to one side a bit, actually.

Actually, I think that every point in the universe could be considered the center (aka the middle of space.)

Re:Giant Space Ocean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857946)

Whooooosh.

Re:Giant Space Ocean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857688)

Sir Isaac Newton wants his Cosmological Principle back.

Re:Giant Space Ocean? (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857998)

That's what they say about us. :)

Re:Giant Space Ocean? (1)

zwei2stein (782480) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857470)

Now, imagine life evolved there...

Re:Giant Space Ocean? (5, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857634)

Not so much an "ocean"; the water is in the form of vapor, not liquid. It doesn't even look like a cloud, which is condensed water droplets. The density is most likely lower than the best vacuum we've ever pulled on earth. It's a lot of water, but a LOT of space.

Re:Giant Space Ocean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857952)

So... The black hole is a giant drain?
We're living all that time in a space basin?

I think there's material for some spin-off Guide.

Sweet! (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857048)

I think we should focus on sources closer to home, though.

12bn years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857088)

I wonder what happened to it by now :/

Re:12bn years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857254)

I wonder what happened to it by now :/

Is that our "now", or the "now" of the extraterrestrial mermaids?

At last (5, Funny)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857118)

Someone's found the universe's plug-hole. The only question is: does the water go down it clockwise or anticlockwise?

Re:At last (4, Insightful)

bourdux (1609219) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857164)

He he, it all depends if you're observing it from the front or from the back.

Re:At last (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857298)

ah, the simpsons reference. what if it's frozen?

Re:At last (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857368)

No.

Next question?

"Water IS LIFE" (as we know it @ least)... apk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857142)

The boys @ NASA are on "the right track" imo, hunting what we're made of largely (as is all life as we know it currently on this sphere/planet @ least).

Sorry for the "Dune-ish" subject-line, but... it IS, how it is, as far as we know on this planet, & probably others too (for lifeforms like ours).

APK

P.S.=> Hopefully, between THIS type of work @ NASA, & IonDrive (& the more efficient pumped laser drives I read of also afterwards) + the work @ SETI @ home (I spent a LOT OF years on "Team Microsoft" for that much)?

We've got a pretty good indicator of where our "cousin lifeforms" may be out there...

I state that, because I don't think that SETI wasn't a waste of time, & will possibly be used as a "prognostication/prediction" device as a sort/form of "stellar 'pre-cartography'" to indicate possible places to explore, first... based on signals detected in various regions of the universe, IN COMBINATION with where the water is!

Hate to say this, but I have to, in closing:

Hopefully though, they're NOTHING LIKE US (or rather, the bogus side of us that is), & can teach us a thing or two about how to co-exist with others like ourselves, in peaceful cooperation, instead of wars & such! I think the "real answers" for us, as humanity, won't come from us here, or they would have by now!

(Yes - Even though we KNOW that philosophy, as well as hard sciences used by the REAL problem solvers in our society that SHOULD BE RUNNING THINGS but are not sadly, already could or can... (I.E.-> Technicians & Scientists, vs. glad hander wealthy power seeking "climbers"))

Yes - we could do the same, w/out "exterior help" - but the current ''system" doesn't allow for it.... again, sadly!

... apk

Re:"Water IS LIFE" (as we know it @ least)... apk (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857206)

& can teach us a thing or two about how to co-exist with others like ourselves, in peaceful cooperation, instead of wars & such

Why would a creature nothing at all like us have the faintest idea, let alone interest in, how to teach us about ourselves? It's like me trying to teach my dog to be a dog. It doesn't work. I can train her. I can correct her. I can reward her. But she will always be what she was born to be, and she will always have the urge to strain at the leash to play with other dogs she sees on the street.

It seems to me that you're looking for the magical beard in the sky here - the wise old man that will make everything better for you. If I may be so bold, why don't you grow up, stop worrying about everyone else, and make your own life better. Stop being an asshole, treat people with respect, and think about what you do. If everyone did this instead of just being selfish and not giving a shit, then the world would be a better place. However it's not, and I don't give a shit, and when you die can I have your stuff?

My life's actually FINE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857444)

Good change also starts w/ an individual, & radiates, hopefully. Ever heard of "pay-it-forward"? Apparently not, & perhaps YOU ought to TRY it, instead of attempting to project your own problems/weaknesses onto myself then!

See - In MY experience, many times in fact...? Yes, IT WORKS, especially with animals (since you brought them up).

I say that, because of a simple concept:

The little things in life, especially these in life even, matter... because imo @ least?? There's NOTHING bigger! And, change, GOOD CHANGE, starts with YOU!

Recently, I've even "proven" it to myself & others recently with a TOTALLY "feral" cat!

Done this before in the past too with a HUGE 7 toed cat (I called him 7 toes in fact) that hung around my land for 10 yrs. & died on my chest in 1994, & lived his entire LIFE outdoors (often in subzero freezing winters too, only came inside 2x when it hit like 20 below Zero Fahrenheit in fact)...

He died, Thanksgiving day, 1994, in fact as he slept on me... made me HUGELY sad, he was a "good man" that cat...

In fact - Once, after I did not see him for 2-3 yrs. in fact because I moved for work & travelled all around this nation to do so to save for a home of my own?

Well - I came back around here with my then girlfriend, & he came MEOWING & tearing down the driveway to me in fact - Funniest part?

She had cats for decades & said:

"I've never seen a cat do that!"

I told her:

"He's my buddy, and has been for a decade - he'll probably be around LONG after you're gone... " Which she got PISSED AT, but it turned up truth oddly enough!

(At that time it was a decade I knew him, it started off by feeding him, he wouldn't even let me watch him for 6 months, then it was I could watch he eat, & eventually, serious "pals" & I often told him "Women come & go, but you will always be my pal!" & animals 'sense' love & kindness, as well as decent people... Here was the strangest part of all - He wouldn't let ANYONE but my immediate family touch him even (bit tenants we had in fact, lol))

That's an example, especially since you brought up animals...

I did so again, here in fact, recently.

E.G. #2 -> My tenants got a cat, and myself one also from the same litter!

Theirs was totally "wild" & ferocious (& I mean that, you even got NEAR it & it went into "attack" mode, ears down, crouched, & look @ you like it wanted to KILL you - everytime too).

I figured:

"Ok - this poor little bastard's been beaten & mistreated, & only is reacting the ONLY way it knows how to", via defense by offense (almost) - I know what that's like, & being alone ONLY COMPOUNDS IT!

So, I start feeding it, & talking in "kind tones" to it. Within a month? It's now as nice as my kitten is (both, oddly, are sisters from the same litter no less)... but, it won't go near the tenants (whom I have had my share of hassles with I won't go into).

I mean, now, for example? Well - She comes up to me every 5:30-6 a.m. as I water my garden & plays + extends herself for petting (and I give her some food, & milk too).

Good nature IS inherent imo... it really is, unless the studied creature was mistreated first...

Then, they only react the only way they think that keeps them safe by nature with tools God gave them is all.

People aren't much different... usually.

"It's like me trying to teach my dog to be a dog. It doesn't work. I can train her. I can correct her. I can reward her. But she will always be what she was born to be, and she will always have the urge to strain at the leash to play with other dogs she sees on the street." - by Dunbal (464142) * on Saturday July 23, @12:13PM (#36857206)

I've often said this online:

"Dogs are BETTER PEOPLE than people"

They've shown me so more than once (they will give their lives for you out of love... how many folks will do that?)

Sure, still - There's a lot to be said for your point, that certain nature is inherent, but you are overlooking the fact that nature can be redirected based on environment too!

imo @ least?

Well - If resources weren't LIMITED here (either for real OR by "artificial scarcity creation")? People would be MUCH different to one another... almost guaranteed!

APK

P.S.=>

"It seems to me that you're looking for the magical beard in the sky here - the wise old man that will make everything better for you" - by Dunbal (464142) * on Saturday July 23, @12:13PM (#36857206)

That's where folks like yourself, have it ALL wrong imo... God is everywhere around us man. Some folks call it "the force" etc./et al, but the point's there... I feel sad for you IF you don't realize this in fact... Jesus Christ said:

"Turn over a stone, I am there"

---

"If I may be so bold, why don't you grow up, stop worrying about everyone else, and make your own life better. " - by Dunbal (464142) * on Saturday July 23, @12:13PM (#36857206)

Per my subject-line? My life's FINE... it really is! I have those who love me, and I they, properties & rental properties fully paid for, education in dual degrees and a track record to go with them professionally in employment etc. over decades now... & it's all paid up (taxes for a year in advance no less & more) IN FULL.

(I.E.-> Yes, I am a pretty happy guy for now... & I don't really care for more, I have what I need/my threshold of acceptance is met just fine on most all things!)

---

"Stop being an asshole, treat people with respect, and think about what you do. " - by Dunbal (464142) * on Saturday July 23, @12:13PM (#36857206)

I give what's given to me, in kind, always... as I tend to "speak in a language those speaking to me in spoke to myself in kind"... so, perhaps YOU ought to not be "preaching" to me, & try your own advice/medicine here?

(Some "Food 4 Thought" for you...)

---

"If everyone did this instead of just being selfish and not giving a shit, then the world would be a better place. However it's not, and I don't give a shit, and when you die can I have your stuff? " - by Dunbal (464142) * on Saturday July 23, @12:13PM (#36857206)

I think it can be, but it starts with EACH OF US... when we can, helping others, even in SMALLISH ways. It can change animals, I've seen it, and yes, even people (not all, but most)...

Don't fool yourself it can't!

Still - the system as it is now though? Economic with artificial scarcity designed to keep some down, & the "in 1%'ers clique" on top??

That IS "the problem" in & of itself... & we have alternate power & fuel sources we can use too, but we aren't shown or given them (hell, try to put up a windmill around here? It's "against the law" believe it or not!).

We also don't have the people running things that SHOULD be (problem solvers scientists & techs + philosophers believe it or not along with social scientists), No...

Instead we have the "power clique" & greedy power-hungry "glad handers" running the show out there, instead, maintaining their "Status Quo" because the greatest FEAR of those in power? LOSING THEIR POWER/CONTROL!!!

... apk

Re:My life's actually FINE (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857530)

If your life were "FINE" you wouldn't be spending it posting this kind of incoherent, rambling drivel on Slashdot.

What should I be doing then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857602)

I think posting things I know work "for the good", & sheerly out of my own free time given, is the right thing to do is all. Funniest part, I have found, is that "what goes around USUALLY comes around"... when I put out wares decades ago I enjoyed as well as my family & friends I wrote? I got a decent amount of notoriety for it... all out of a love of doing something decent on my end, & those who saw my work in family/friends SUGGESTED I ought to put them out for others!

One even ended up as commercial product code... paid decently, & I was happy about it (helped on the resume too even to this very day in fact).

Still... on things I write, & I generally don't "wax philosophical" as I have here (as I usually stick to facts on the topic of the computer sciences 99% of the time usually here on this site @ least)?

Well - I invite debate on them in fact, as I have no issue with that in fact!

(Mainly, because it MAY point out things I overlook & can strengthen my own "pov" with in fact)...

However, in the end of such debates? Well, I rarely get valid points in debates vs. documented facts I use for example... usually ad hominem attacks or sly comments like your own now, are the results from those "debating me" (or, trying to).

APK

P.S.=>

"If your life were "FINE" you wouldn't be spending it posting this kind of incoherent, rambling drivel on Slashdot." - by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 23, @01:01PM (#36857530)

Says "the anonymous troll"... and you have the gall/nerve to tell ME how to live my life? Speak for yourself... your thinly veiled easily seen thru "attack" on myself only illustrates this for me, with your own words quoted above.

I feel sorry for your type online, I truly do. Your fav. color MUST BE "Transparent"..., because your reply surely is.

Not a damn thing I posted is "drivel"... I even cited things from my life in the past & recently on the subject noted (animals by Dunbal the poster I replied to in fact), that are, FACT!

... apk

Power Upon Power (1)

glorybe (946151) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857166)

Who can come close to fathoming the huge force it takes to take all that water and compress it into a singularity? And then wonders what eventually must happen to all of that water.

Re:Power Upon Power (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857414)

Well, it won't be water by that point, just a bunch of smushed-together quarks of various flavors.

Giant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857178)

Figure's that someone from California would find it

Which one? (0)

bsharp8256 (1372285) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857192)

The water, equivalent to 140 trillion times all the water in the world's ocean, surrounds a huge, feeding black hole....

Which ocean?

Re:Which one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857384)

They're all connected, dipshit.

Re:Which one? (2)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857448)

There is only one ocean on Earth. The existence of several large landmasses isolating parts of that ocean from each other make it convenient to refer to the various part of the ocean by different names (Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, etc), but it's all one intermingling body of water.

Re:Which one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857574)

Which ocean?

All of them! Sure, the correct English usage is "all the water in the world's oceans", but even without that extra 's', I think it's pretty obvious what the OP meant. Also, despite the names *we humans* have given to the oceans, there is actually only one, planet-spanning ocean. Look at a globe (or Google Earth) next time.

So what? (0)

gtirloni (1531285) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857256)

Please don't get me wrong but a reserve 12 billions of years away means it doesn't exist for all practical purposes. This is fine, I don't think this kind of research is supposed to be 'practical' but it raises the question: what's the benefit for us here on Earth? Is the byproduct of the technology that was developed to discover this something we'll use in our daily lives? If so, how? I'm humbly asking this question because I fail to see the benefits of both the discover and the science. Can someone with more knowledge about it light the room?

Re:So what? (5, Insightful)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857306)

We eat food because we're animals. We seek knowledge because we're humans.

Re:So what? (0)

gtirloni (1531285) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857366)

And we post useless replies on Slashdot because we're trolls? I'm interested in knowing non-obvious details about what this kind of research means to us. That there is a water reserve that we can use because ours is ending would be an obvious detail.

Re:So what? (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857622)

His answer was meaningful; you just don't understand it. It's "curiosity": wanting to know things regardless of whether they'll be immediately useful. It's a sign of intelligence, and you probably exhibit it in other areas (though perhaps not, some people just lack curiosity altogether). You don't seem particularly "interested in knowing" what the use of this is (as you assert); you're pretty sure you already know the answer, and you're challenging someone else to "admit" that it doesn't qualify as something you consider worth knowing about. You're perfectly welcome to not be curious about astronomy, or particle physics, or 16th century French literature, or pre-Colombian cultures of North America, or birdsongs of the Mesozoic. But to say that there is no benefit to this knowledge to those who are thirsty with curiosity for it... seems to miss the point that other people have needs and wants and questions of their own, and they don't have to justify them to you.

Re:So what? (1)

gtirloni (1531285) | more than 3 years ago | (#36858112)

You're wrong and there is no need to lecture me. I'm curious and that's why I asked if anyone knew the practical implications of this kind of research. Feel free to engage in your pseudo-intellectual rant somewhere else.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36858216)

It's a sign of intelligence

That depends on how you define "intelligence" (as well as who you ask).

Re:So what? (1)

MattSausage (940218) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857378)

I would +1 you if I could you beautiful bastard. That is exactly the point.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857716)

No. We seek knowledge because it gives us an advantage in predicting the future. Which gives us an advantage in natural selection. Which is because we're life, and resources are limited.

So you could say, knowledge is the basis of survival of all life. It's just that we're particularly good at it. (Or do you think a fly has no memory? Yes it has. It just doesn't have it for very long, or very much of it. (Which is the same thing for neural nets.) :P)

Re:So what? (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857744)

We seek knowledge so we can FIND OR MAKE MORE FOOD so we can MAKE MORE PEOPLE. I want them to find the CHON floating around in the OORT cloud.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857850)

But we have to have knowledge before we can use it. If people like you ruled the scientific community then we wouldn't even have discovered or explored electricity.

What I'm saying is that something doesn't have to be immediately useful for it to eventually be useful. Just chill out and wait.

Re:So what? (1)

gtirloni (1531285) | more than 3 years ago | (#36858160)

I said I understood that it was not supposed to be practical research or immediately useful. Please read it again. "people like you"... thanks for assuming a lot.

Re:So what? (1)

Suffering Bastard (194752) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857958)

We eat food because we're animals. We seek knowledge because we're humans.

And does anyone else here share the stupendous wonder at life evolving with such a profound desire to know itself and its environment's outer reaches? So profound, in fact, that even in the midst of our darkest hours we still look to the stars for knowledge and the discovery of unimaginable beauty.

We are stardust evolving into self knowledge as we marvel at our own nature. There's little else that is quite as miraculous.

Re:So what? (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857344)

Because the more we know about everything, the easier it is to make things that do benefit us. It's impossible to say how this benefits us now but knowing more about how our universe works is always useful. Trying to put a dollar value on knowledge means we'll move more slowly than if we just try and understand it all and let genuises take the bits they need to make things better for all of us.

Re:So what? (1)

gtirloni (1531285) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857482)

I understand all of this and it's pretty clear to me (hence the "don't get me wrong" part). As I replied before, it's fine if people don't really know the non-obvious details about the implications of this kind of research (I don't). It's sufficient to say that. The Slashdot crowd always include lots of people pretty knowledgeable about astronomy and that's the point of my question. Even if these scientists are not looking to solve near-term problems, has their research benefited the average Joe in any way? I have a feeling it did, I just don't know how and would like to draw from the wider audience here. (ps. Can't wait for someone to call me a Luddite already).

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857732)

Bro, this is fucking awesome! What other reason does one need?

Re:So what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857614)

Can someone with more knowledge about it light the room?

It tells us something about how the first stars evolved. That puts constraints on the physical models we use for stellar evolution and also of... well, physics. We can't create universes (yet), so the only way to know what happened during the Big Bang is to study what happened shortly thereafter, and to make sure that our theories of physics make predictions that are in accordance with our observations of the early universe. We now have some new observations of the early universe, which we can use to refine our theories.

The universe is 13.7 Gy old. The quazar is 12 Gly away. In 1.7 Gy, we now know that enough of the earliest stars had formed out of the universe's primordial hydrogen/helium, gone through their lives, and blown themselves up as supernovae (I've forgotten my freshman astronomy - can any astronomers confirm/deny that a star not massive enough to become a supernova, but massive to burn carbon into oxygen, can puff off their shells and create planetary nebulae, within a 1.5Gy lifespan?) or (with the preceding caveat in mind) release their oxygen into the mix.

We also know roughly how warm it is around that quasar, which tells us something about the rate at which matter is falling into its accretion disk. That tells us more things about the state of the early universe, and how black holes work, etc.

Is the byproduct of the technology that was developed to discover this something we'll use in our daily lives?

Newton and his silly prisms and figuring out how total internal reflection worked. Some dipshit at Dow Corning dripping molten glass through a funnel and wondering what to do with the really tiny strands of glass stuck to the top of the funnel when the glass ran out. You might be able to use the bendy glass structure and total internal reflection to create one of silly disco-era things [flickr.com] , but that's about all it's good for.

Copper wire the only practical communications medium, and tungsten wire is the only practical light source. Lasers? PFFT, just a bunch of silly academicians playing with solid state physics. Way to expensive to stick one into a silly disco-ball lamp, and who'd want a bunch of random dots over every wall in your bedroom?

I'm sorry if you don't want to know what's over the next hill. Some of us think the universe is pretty neat. Others of us think that building cool gadgets is fun, and that the more we know about how the universe works today, the cooler gadgets our descendants will be able to build tomorrow.

Re:So what? (1)

gtirloni (1531285) | more than 3 years ago | (#36858148)

Thanks for the first decent answer to this. I never said I don't want to know what's over the next hill. I do think the universe is pretty neat and that we should try to understand things better. I just asked if any of that kind of research created any other practical benefits. Much like the F1 racing teams research all kind of extreme engineering things to put a few cars in running in circles for no particular reason than entertainment... their research obviously translates into things we use daily. That's just it.. that's what I was trying to ask but there are too many pseudo-geniuses around here.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36858136)

Even if it were on the Moon it wouldn't exist for all practical purposes. Any technology and energy source capable of getting back significant quantities of water from the Moon would be better used right here on Earth.

Fish in Space!!! (1)

Kevin Fishburne (1296859) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857412)

I think these astronomers have been playing Darius a bit too much.

I think I've seen this before... (1)

Shoten (260439) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857428)

"The water, equivalent to 140 trillion times all the water in the world's ocean, surrounds a huge, feeding black hole"

Sounds like the business model of the movie "Waterworld," if you ask me...

Re:I think I've seen this before... (1)

rtaylor (70602) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857722)

Sounds like the business model of the movie "Waterworld," if you ask me

I will take 40% profit pretty much any day.

Which way does it turn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857548)

Well OK, that is a really big bath tub and someone pulled the plug, but which way does it turn?

Maybe means finding life now more likely? (1)

mrflash818 (226638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857884)

I have always hoped we would eventually discover proof of life elsewhere in the universe. Maybe this means it is a bit more likely?

Re:Maybe means finding life now more likely? (1)

LordofEntropy (250334) | more than 3 years ago | (#36858278)

Doesn't mean it's any more likely. Water is known to be quite abundant in the universe. While finding a whole shitload circling around a black hole is pretty cool, it would be more significant to find a shitload of water on a planet in the so called "Goldilocks Zone" around certain types of stars—for at least the type of life that we know of.

Speed of light (1)

DomHawken (1335311) | more than 3 years ago | (#36857940)

Does that mean there was water there 12 billion light-years ago, the light from which we are viewing now, therefore it might still be there but we can't tell for sure?

Re:Speed of light (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36858030)

I'll let you know when I get back...

Battle Los Angeles (1)

snerdy (444659) | more than 3 years ago | (#36858026)

Someone should go nail this article to the foreheads of everyone involved in creating the movie Battle Los Angeles (in which aliens invade earth in order to steal all of our precious, precious water).

and if the waters gets sucked in?? (2)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 3 years ago | (#36858138)

galactic enema?

33ft = 10m? (1)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36858152)

I can't say I'm any sort of metric master, but I'm quite certain 33ft is 11m.

Re:33ft = 10m? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36858198)

10.0584m, actually. So given 10 and 11, 10 has my vote.

Re:33ft = 10m? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36858224)

33 ft = 10058 mm = 10.058m

Re:33ft = 10m? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36858334)

Wow. Just wow. Is this the low that Slashdot has sunk to?
 
Hey fucktard. If you're not sure why not Google [google.com] it and stop looking like an ass?

It Figures (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36858232)

It all goes down the drain..

Funny typo in summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36858252)

Dariusz's name is Lis (fox in Polish), not Lisused. second group used

http://www.submm.caltech.edu/~dcl/ [caltech.edu]

Reservoir? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36858332)

Seems like a "reservoir" would be a containment *preventing* the water from rinsing out of the universe.

And, let me press this point, if this all happened 12,000,000,000 years ago, I bet the "reserves" are "low".

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