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74 comments

Why did I read that as nipples in space time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47330825)

Why did I read that as nipples in space time

Re:Why did I read that as nipples in space time (4, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | about a month ago | (#47330891)

probably because the title talks about big black holes and a "smashup".....

What would have happened to them today ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47330967)

Since that galaxy is some _4.3 BILLION LIGHT YEARS_ away from us, what we see today is what was happening to them 4.3 billion years ago

Would 4.3 billion years long enough for those 3 supermassive blackholes to merge ?

When a blackhole (BH-A) being swallowed up by another blackhole (BH-B), what would happened to the content which were already stored inside (BH-A) ?

Would the content inside (BH-A) exit (BH-A) before they are re-sucked into (BH-B) or would (BH-A) acts like a bag, being swallowed up by (BH-B) as a single entity ?

Re:Why did I read that as nipples in space time (2)

mendax (114116) | about a month ago | (#47330917)

Perhaps you're channeling Albert Einstein. He saw a lot of nipples in his lifetime that didn't belong to his wives.

Alternatively (2)

eclectro (227083) | about a month ago | (#47330829)

may help scientists hunting for ripples in spacetime known as gravitational waves

Or more accurately, black holes waving.

Space is bullshit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47330831)

Who cares!
  -- Jesus 2016

A four million year orbit (3, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a month ago | (#47330867)

just 450 light-years apart and orbit each other every 4 million years.

I can't stop thinking that a four million year orbit means humans will have populated that galaxy before those black holes have completed one more cycle.

We're like smart bacteria inside a human being. We could learn about the season cycle, but but the time winter comes, innumerable generations of our descendants will already have killed our host and traveled to other ones.

Re:A four million year orbit (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47330979)

Nope.
We will most likely die on our piece of meaningless dirt before the universe can say "Jack Robinson".
Star trek is high fantasy, not science fiction.

Re:A four million year orbit (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a month ago | (#47331007)

To believe that I'd need more historical references of creatures or cultures extinct by their own means.

History is reality. The world didn't begin our birth day.

Re:A four million year orbit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47332429)

4 million years is a long time though on scales we usually think about. Using just the physics we know of now, some fission and fusion rocket designs can approach a specific impulse of over 10^6 s, which would allow reasonable travel at 1-2% c (less than a third of the ship would need to be fuel). Giving 500 years to spread out to near by stars and construct a new set of ships to prepare to repeat the process, you end up being able to colonize a whole galaxy on the time scale of a couple to several million years. If motivated for very long time scale projects, such things are within the real m of possibility, no Star Trek technobabble and weird physics needed. The problem isn't the engineering, but the motivation: hundreds of years from now, would we need and/or want to bother colonizing other solar systems even if possible?

Internal fuel won't do it ... (1)

CaptainDork (3678879) | about a month ago | (#47333025)

Internal fuel would do us no good. Notice that the LHC can't rely on photons' internal fuel. In order to get them puppies off their butts and straighten up and fly right at very high speeds relative to us, we have to pour in EXTERNAL fuel. A common question is, "Can a motorcycle go the speed of light using the fuel it has in its tank?" The answer is, "No, the motorcycle must use energy from the universe its embedded in." We don't need no steenkin fuel. What we need is an engine that gathers external sources of energy to convert into motion.

Re:Internal fuel won't do it ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47334373)

Internal fuel would do us no good.

The previous post was quite clear about this, and you can plug the numbers yourself into the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation yourself if you want to double check. A propulsion with a specific impulse of a million seconds can reach 1% of the speed of light with fuel comprising only 26.4% of the total mass of the craft. 2% of c would require 45.8% of the craft's mass to be fuel. So yes, with proposed propulsion methods such as a fission-fragment rocket, you could do just fine with internal fuel.

Re:Internal fuel won't do it ... (1)

CaptainDork (3678879) | about a month ago | (#47337793)

While the calculations are interesting, practical application is nonproductive. We need to get MUCH higher percentages. As you point out, the payload/fuel ratio prevents a motorcycle from reaching c with internal fuel. As NemionSpace alludes below, If we were to switch to an external fuel source, the universe does not contain enough energy to get us there, either.

Re:Internal fuel won't do it ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47338689)

While the calculations are interesting, practical application is nonproductive.

You keep saying those are nonproductive figures... but they are quite reasonable and usable. Most rockets today have 80-90% of their mass as fuel (the space shuttle for example is 79.9% fuel by mass on take off), so 25-50% is considerable improvement. If you used similar fuel mass proportions, you would be reaching up to 12% c. And the point was that on long time scales, it is quite possible. Arguing about how and why to do it ASAP is kind of pointless, especially if relying on wishing for a magic new physical principle. But it isn't needed with a bit of patience that amount to timescales still short by astronomical, even geological timescales.

Re:Internal fuel won't do it ... (1)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | about a month ago | (#47335089)

At less than 10^-29 g/cc, I'm afraid the average energy density of the universe doesn't bode well for external fuel either. Lucky for us, Andromeda will be here soon enough. As I've stated before, the rest of the entire universe is rushing away from us as fast as it can. They just don't like us. We're pretty much stuck here.

Re:A four million year orbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47340095)

There is zero chance of nuclear propulsion ever being used. You're talking about 26% of the mass of this spacecraft being fissionable material. Longshot was proposed to mass about 400 tons. There are about 2000 tons of highly enriched uranium on the planet. Whatever numbers you come up with for spacecraft mass are going to be a substantial fraction of all of the enriched uranium ever produced. NASA has a hard enough time getting kilograms of radioactive material for space probes.

The tech might not be Star Trek, but the circumstances under which it could be used definitely is.

Re:A four million year orbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47340751)

Currently on the order of 50-60 thousand tonnes of uranium are mined every year, and while it could all be used in such a scheme with a neutron sorce, but diregarding that and assuming fusion never works for many centuries in the future (even though for a rocket it doesn't have to reach the same power extraction requirements... ) that still gives 400 tonnes a year of U235 being extracted from the Earth. On the time scales of hundreds of years, quite a lot can be accumulated if so desired. This wasn't an argument about what will be done in the next decade, about what NASA could do if it felt like, but pointing out that the engineering and construction can be done if for whatever reason humanity wanted to commit to such a long term goal and had some patience. But as pointed out that is a big if, and there is no reason to assume that humanity will want to bother doing that. It is not he physical barriers that would stop such a project from happening, but social ones (including that everyone starting such a project would be long dead before it finishes).

By the way, Longshot was proposed using a type of inertial confinement fusion, so of its 400 tons, about 5% of its mass was going to be fissionable material as a power source. More modern fusion propulsion proposals, and fission based proposals like fission-fragment, have nearly ten times the specific impulse used in Longshot's design.

Re:A four million year orbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47330981)

They are 4.3 billion light-years away. They have already orbited each other a thousand full cycles since the observation (Well, you know what I mean.)
and they will spin another thousand before anything from here can reach them.

Re:A four million year orbit (5, Informative)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a month ago | (#47331061)

"What can be more palpably absurd than the prospect held out of locomotives traveling twice as fast as stagecoaches?" - The Quarterly Review, March, 1825.

"That the automobile has practically reached the limit of its development is suggested by the fact that during the past year no improvements of a radical nature have been introduced." - Scientific American, January 2, 1909.

"A rocket will never be able to leave the Earth's atmosphere." - The New York Times, January 13, 1920

"To place a man in a multi-stage rocket and project him into the controlling gravitational field of the moon where the passengers can make scientific observations, perhaps land alive, and then return to earth—all that constitutes a wild dream worthy of Jules Verne. I am bold enough to say that such a man-made voyage will never occur regardless of all future advances." - Lee De Forest, 1957

They are 4.3 billion light-years away. They have already orbited each other a thousand full cycles since the observation (Well, you know what I mean.)
and they will spin another thousand before anything from here can reach them.

Re:A four million year orbit (1)

itzly (3699663) | about a month ago | (#47331191)

"That the automobile has practically reached the limit of its development is suggested by the fact that during the past year no improvements of a radical nature have been introduced." - Scientific American, January 2, 1909.

Pretty much correct up to this day.

Re:A four million year orbit (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a month ago | (#47331341)

Pretty much correct up to this day.

Have you ever been in a car accident at over 50km/h? Are you still alive and healthy? Would you still be had it happened in a 1909 car?

I'd say "not killing the user" is a pretty nifty improvement. I'd even call it a feature.

Re:A four million year orbit (1)

itzly (3699663) | about a month ago | (#47331371)

Yes, of course. The design has been optimized and tweaked, but in essence it's still the same idea. The same applies to rockets. Compared to 50 years ago, we've tweaked and optimized a couple of things, but we haven't made any fundamental changes.

Re:A four million year orbit (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a month ago | (#47331387)

Ok, you're right. In automobile technology, in the last century, there have been no fundamental scotsmen. ... I mean... changes.

Re:A four million year orbit (1)

itzly (3699663) | about a month ago | (#47331427)

Glad you agree. A good 1909 car could keep up with modern highway speeds, using a 4-stroke internal combustion engine invented in the 19th century. Seatbelts, crumple zones, and a strong metal frame are hardly high-tech inventions. They could have added those in 1909, if they felt it was important. And while safety has improved, automobile accidents are still a significant cause of deaths in modern days.

Re:A four million year orbit (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a month ago | (#47332325)

The subject you obviously know _nothing_ about is 'metallurgy'. Look it up.

Re:A four million year orbit (2)

Rich0 (548339) | about a month ago | (#47331463)

Ok, you're right. In automobile technology, in the last century, there have been no fundamental scotsmen. ... I mean... changes.

Why don't you ask the original person quoted what he meant by "radical?" The statement is vague, and anybody can endlessly debate what constitutes a "radical" change.

Presumably when he made the quote cars were in fact changing just as they change today.

The one change to cars that I would consider a fairly radical one is the hybrid. They typically incorporate continuous transmissions, regenerative braking, the ability to operate from power sources, and the ability to recharge. Combining all of those things at once really does get to a level I think most people of that day would consider radically different from their own experience.

But, whatever, the whole "no true scottsman" argument is one of degree and nobody is debating that cars today are better than the cars of yesterday.

Re:A four million year orbit (1)

itzly (3699663) | about a month ago | (#47331521)

Yes, I was thinking that hybrid/electric is really the first radical design change compared to last century.

Re:A four million year orbit (1)

CreatureComfort (741652) | about a month ago | (#47332515)

"English inventor Thomas Parker, who was responsible for innovations such as electrifying the London Underground, overhead tramways in Liverpool and Birmingham, and the smokeless fuel coalite, built the first practical production electric car [wikipedia.org] in London in 1884, using his own specially designed high-capacity rechargeable batteries. Parker's long-held interest in the construction of more fuel-efficient vehicles led him to experiment with electric vehicles. He also may have been concerned about the malign effects smoke and pollution were having in London. Production of the car was in the hands of the Elwell-Parker Company, established in 1882 for the construction and sale of electric trams. The company merged with other rivals in 1888 to form the Electric Construction Corporation; this company had a virtual monopoly on the British electric car market in the 1890s. The company manufactured the first electric 'dog cart' in 1896."

hand cranks and cord pulling (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about a month ago | (#47332357)

In 1911, Charles F. Kettering, with Henry M. Leland, of Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (DELCO) invented and filed U.S. Patent 1,150,523 for the first electric starter in America.

So glad I don't have to start my car the same way I start an old lawnmower.

Re:A four million year orbit (1)

bigtone78 (943249) | about a month ago | (#47331849)

I get it - if someone makes a bold declaration that something will never happen, within a few years that thing usually happens.

Let me be the first to say: "What can be more palpably absurd than the prospect held out of me finding several trillion dollars and ruling the world with an iron fist?" - Your future ruler 2014

Re:A four million year orbit (1)

Shatrat (855151) | about a month ago | (#47332447)

The logic is: "People have been wrong about things for hundreds of years. You are a person. Therefore, you are wrong."

Re:A four million year orbit (1)

tendrousbeastie (961038) | about a month ago | (#47334187)

Technically known as a "false syllogism".

Re:A four million year orbit (1)

CreatureComfort (741652) | about a month ago | (#47332539)

Actually, the take-away I got from his comment is that if you have enough idiots spouting nonsense, eventually one of them will accidentally recite Hamlet.

Re:A four million year orbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47333963)

"That the automobile has practically reached the limit of its development is suggested by the fact that during the past year no improvements of a radical nature have been introduced." - Scientific American, January 2, 1909."

Essentially correct, and still true today. They might look nicer and be more comfortable now, but practical top speed has barely increased since.

"A rocket will never be able to leave the Earth's atmosphere." - The New York Times, January 13, 1920"

Incorrect obviously, but only marginal improvements in efficiency have been made since the 1960's.

"They are 4.3 billion light-years away."

If we want to go to the stars we need many orders of magnitude improvement in rocket technology. Not to say that is impossible, but it's going to take a while.

Re:A four million year orbit (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about a month ago | (#47341659)

"That the automobile has practically reached the limit of its development is suggested by the fact that during the past year no improvements of a radical nature have been introduced." - Scientific American, January 2, 1909."

Essentially correct, and still true today. They might look nicer and be more comfortable now, but practical top speed has barely increased since.

Hmmm, my current car cruises comfortably at 130+ mph and a past one topped out around 180 mph. Not sure a 1909 vehicle even makes 100 mph reliably, although they did exist, as the top speed set in 1909 was roughly 120mph. Wonder what the gas mileage was, not to mention the teeth loosening adrenaline rush.

"A rocket will never be able to leave the Earth's atmosphere." - The New York Times, January 13, 1920"

Incorrect obviously, but only marginal improvements in efficiency have been made since the 1960's.

TBH, there's not much you can do to increase the efficiency of the most efficient simple chemical fuel combo in existence. In a thrust based concept, if you're using all the energy available as thrust, you're done.

Re:A four million year orbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47335725)

Wow, three quotes from popular press, and one from an inventor who made some great contributions but was quite short sighted in many ways in his older age when it came to technology progression. And the NYT was famous for judging rocketry using reasoning that would have gotten them flunked out of a contemporary physics class. That is so incredibly comparable to scientists discussing extensively studied subject physics principles, who therefore must be just as short sighted...

Rocket beats Newspaper, Einstein beats FTL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47340151)

The speed of light is a hard limit on what it means for an event to propagate through spacetime. It is the fastest that the universe will convert one dimension into another. The corollary to this is that if anything does travel faster than light, you can construct a reference from in which that object will be seen to be traveling backwards in time. This is bad news for those of us who like causes to precede effects. This relies of course on Relativity, which while not being a complete description of the Universe, has been confirmed on every observable scale from the sub-atomic to the intergalactic. There are holes, but no observations so far which allow FTL, and as a matter of personal preference I would rather have causality than FTL.

Many people have been wrong, even Einstein, but he wasn't wrong about Relativity. Intergalactic space travel is impossible in human timeframes, and will remain so forever.

Re:A four million year orbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47331179)

I can't stop thinking that a four million year orbit means humans will have populated that galaxy before those black holes have completed one more cycle.

From the article: "...the object, located 4.3 billion light-years from Earth...". So, unless we figure out a way to travel faster than light, those black holes will have completed another thousand cycles before we reach them. (Two thousand, if you count the cycles that occurred while the light was on its way to us. And a bit more, if you allow for the universe expanding while we're on our way there.)

Re:A four million year orbit (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a month ago | (#47331379)

Care to compare humanity's travel technology between four million years in the past and now?

Re:A four million year orbit (1)

itzly (3699663) | about a month ago | (#47331455)

Let's say we've gone from 5 mph to 500 mph in the last 4 million years (counting ordinary people, not jet fighters or astronauts). In order to reach a galaxy 4.5 billion light years away in the next 4.5 million years, we'll need to increase that to 500 billion mph.

Re:A four million year orbit (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about a month ago | (#47334571)

Well, we went from 5pmh to 5pmh in the first 4 million years. :)

In the last couple hundred, we went from 5pmh to almost 150,000mph.

From the 10^0 range to the 10^4th range, and most of that is in the last 50.

Re:A four million year orbit (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about a month ago | (#47334589)

I should note that we're going to triple that 150k in a few years with another solar probe.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org]

Re:A four million year orbit (1)

budgenator (254554) | about a month ago | (#47338569)

Well the problem is space has a lot of particles, and when your space ship pushes them out of the way or into the funnel at near relativistic speeds it generates a lot of lethal radiation [wikipedia.org] ; if it wasn't for that everybody would be cruising the galaxy in their Bussard Ramjets [wikipedia.org] .

Re:A four million year orbit (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about a month ago | (#47331477)

Care to compare humanity's travel technology between four million years in the past and now?

Sure - our ancestors traveled at a minuscule fraction of the speed of light, as do we today. :)

I get your point, but it is pretty speculative to suggest that travel faster than the speed of light will ever be possible. No physical law of nature prevented any of the advances you've quoted - they were just engineering challenges. Over a span of even thousands of years I'm sure we'll be impressed with what mankind achieves with engineering.

However, I don't think anybody can make any bets either way on whether there are ways to effectively travel faster than the speed of light. There may or may not be new physics out there that we can rely on. We don't get to invent the laws of nature - we can only exploit what we discover, and there may or may not be anything useful to discover.

Re:A four million year orbit (2)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a month ago | (#47331573)

I get your point, but it is pretty speculative to suggest that travel faster than the speed of light will ever be possible. No physical law of nature prevented any of the advances you've quoted - they were just engineering challenges.

No current physical law. All the advances were preceded by a new understanding of how the universe worked. All the advances that will come, will also be preceded by new understandings.

I postulate that the only constant is our own ignorance. I will not argue that we may reach a point where we know everything and thus can't advance any more. I just don't believe that point exists, but I have nothing to support that belief.

Over a span of even thousands of years I'm sure we'll be impressed with what mankind achieves with engineering.

However, I don't think anybody can make any bets either way on whether there are ways to effectively travel faster than the speed of light. There may or may not be new physics out there that we can rely on. We don't get to invent the laws of nature - we can only exploit what we discover, and there may or may not be anything useful to discover.

Oh, I see we did reason in the same direction. Ok, then I agree with you in everything but the "may not be anything useful to discover".

Re:A four million year orbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47332487)

No current physical law. All the advances were preceded by a new understanding of how the universe worked. All the advances that will come, will also be preceded by new understandings.

No, a lot of major advances were preceded by new engineering, design, and manufacturing abilities. We knew heavier than air flight was physically possible before we did so, because it can be observed in nature since antiquity. We knew faster than sound flight was possible from artillery. The question in those cases was not what is physically possible in general, but what was possibly to do in a manner useful to humans.

It also doesn't help that people tend to remember or seek out quotes that were proven wrong on these things. But you don't see people quoting those that were right, like early proposals on the conservation of energy which we've yet to see a way around.

Re:A four million year orbit (1)

itzly (3699663) | about a month ago | (#47333127)

No current physical law

When was the last time a physical law was broken ?

Re:A four million year orbit (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about a month ago | (#47334283)

It's our understanding of those laws that might change.

We currently believe the speed of light to be an absolute. We didn't always believe that, and we might not in the future. The cool thing about science is that we're not locked into anything that future experimentation and discovery gets us.

Re:A four million year orbit (1)

meta-monkey (321000) | about a month ago | (#47334553)

The problem is the gaps in our knowledge where new physics can be found keeps shrinking. Every experiment at the LHC has further supported the Standard Model. All we're mainly doing now is tacking on more places to the right of the decimal. We keep confirming just how right we are about how the universe works, and everything that we know says you can't go faster than light.

Re:A four million year orbit (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about a month ago | (#47334695)

That's hubris.

If we're still around four million years from now, we'll look back us 2014 the same we we look at cavemen.

Re:A four million year orbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47335595)

It is equally foolish to things must change, even more so that they must change in a specific way to allow a person's pet fantasies become reality in the future. We don't know what we might end up discovering, especially in the long run. That doesn't mean anything will be any particular thing can be possible or impossible in the distant future.

Re:A four million year orbit (1)

itzly (3699663) | about a month ago | (#47334797)

Exactly. Here's an interesting presentation that touches this subject: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com] The LHC produces 100 million collisions per second (!) at the highest energies we can produce, and every single thing we see can be accurately explained with current theories.

Re:A four million year orbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47335001)

We still don't have an adequate TOE.

FTL == Fucked Time Line (1)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | about a month ago | (#47340465)

The speed of light is a hard constraint, akin to the "clock rate" of the universe. It is the greatest possible change in spatial coordinates for a given unit of time. Thinking of it in terms of a speed or speed limit is less useful: it's a fundamental property of the universe. One consequence of this is that photons do not experience time in any meaningful sense between emission and absorption. Another more relevant consequence is that if any event (e.g. a spacecraft) does exceed the rate of event propagation (i.e. c) then you can construct a reference frame in which that event is observed to be propagating backwards in time. The speed of light and causality are fundamentally linked. If you want a universe in which FTL exists, you want a universe in which effects can precede their causes.

There is room for Einstein to be wrong. However, Relativity (and by extension causality) has been confirmed on every scale that we have been able to observe so far, from the sub-atomic to the intergalactic. Beyond that there is some gray area, but you'll note that we do not experience the universe at either extreme; whether or not Relativity applies to sub-sub-atomic particles, it certainly applies to us. It is an accurate description of the geometry of the universe at human time and distance scales, and at human energy levels, and at scales and energy levels far beyond what humans can harness. In order for what you want to be true, Einstein would have to be wrong -- not wrong in the sense that Newton was wrong, but wrong in the sense that the Flat Earth Society is wrong. And at that point we may as well give up science; if causality isn't true then empiricism takes a pretty hard knock.

You and Thanshin should quit spamming this thread with examples of human ignorance and rectify some of your own. Your argument is not very far removed from saying, "But we don't know everything about gravity! Maybe in the future things will fall up!". It's not entirely ludicrous to suggest that events can propagate through spacetime faster than events can propagate through spacetime, or that spacetime can be warped such that the shortest path between two points is less than the "true" distance, but it's at least 99% ludicrous, and championing the narrowest of possibilities while being ignorant of the (well-tested) established theory is not very rational. The geometry of spacetime is very strange and unintuitive, but if you're going to argue that it could be different then you should probably know how it works first.

Re:A four million year orbit (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about a month ago | (#47336799)

No current physical law. All the advances were preceded by a new understanding of how the universe worked.

None of the examples you cited involved a change in the understanding of the laws of physics.

We don't get to invent the laws of nature - we can only exploit what we discover, and there may or may not be anything useful to discover.

Oh, I see we did reason in the same direction. Ok, then I agree with you in everything but the "may not be anything useful to discover".

I said, "there may or may not be anything useful to discover." That is actually a tautology, so there really isn't much to disagree with.

You may happen to believe that there is something useful to discover that will enable light speed travel. That's nice, and I'd like to hope that it is true. However, there is really no reason to believe that it is. The universe could simply suck.

Re:A four million year orbit (1)

budgenator (254554) | about a month ago | (#47338631)

You don't necessarily have to travel faster than the speed of light to get from point A to point B faster than light can, because Warp Drives [design-engineering.com] actually seem plausible now.

Re:A four million year orbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47341521)

Interesting interpretation of "plausible" since the Alcubierre drive requires a substance or process we don't even know if it can exist, let alone if any of it is out there (something producing negative curvature of spacetime). And despite some improvements on the amount of the stuff you need, there is still the issue that the bubble fills with more and more radiation as you approach the speed of light, and that the inside of the bubble is causally disconnected from the front of the bubble (meaning it can't be steered and generation of the front of the bubble would be more akin to a train than a ship).

Please explain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47331025)

The article states

If the two black holes composing the newfound pair are equally distant from Earth, they're just 450 light-years apart and orbit each other every 4 million years.

Can someone explain, or is this a typo? Do they not know if they're the same distance? Are they saying there's a possibility that the black holes aren't orbiting each other, aren't that close, and the whole thing is conjecture?

Re:Please explain (3, Informative)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a month ago | (#47331079)

The article states

If the two black holes composing the newfound pair are equally distant from Earth, they're just 450 light-years apart and orbit each other every 4 million years

Can someone explain, or is this a typo? Do they not know if they're the same distance?

I ain't a space scientist, and I hope that what I say is correct --- please correct me if I am wrong --- what TFA is saying is, Black Hole 1 (Point A) and Black hole 2 (Point B) are spinning with each others and we are at a fixed reference point (Point C)

In other words, Point A, Point B and Point C make up a triangle, with Point A and Point B spinning with each other.

What TFA suggests is that when Black Hole 1 (Point A) and Black Hole 2 (Point B) happens to link to the fixed reference point (Point C) in which the distance of AC = BC , the distance of AB = 450 Light Years

As I have said, I ain't a space scientist, if I am incorrect, please correct me, thank you !

Re:Please explain (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about a month ago | (#47334317)

Parsing English is teh hard.

The "they" in that sentence refers to the two nouns preceding it.

1. The new-found pair [of black holes].
2. Earth

They're 450 LY apart.

Re:Please explain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47337795)

Yes, it is hard; as I understand your reply as saying you think it says the two black holes are 450 light years from earth, and also presumably that they (the black holes) orbit earth every 4million years? It's clearly saying that the two stars are 450 million light years apart if they're equidistant from earth, as Taco Cowboy states. what I don't get is why the distance to earth impacts the relationship between the two two bodies who are orbiting each other in a far of galaxy. (taco's when they're equidistant - surely they're always that distance apart, allowing for decaying orbit, and even if it were an elliptical orbit why would the distance to earth have any bearing?


A=blackhole1

B=blackhole2

C=earth

  If (A to C == B to C)

              Let A to B = 450 light years

Else

??????

Re:Please explain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47331213)

I think it's explained in the original article http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature13454.html (paywalled), especially based on Figure 3.
You have to remember, we can't SEE black holes. They're black. We know where they are by the disturbance they make. So it's more like a set of probabilities.

Re:Please explain (3, Insightful)

PhilHibbs (4537) | about a month ago | (#47331567)

If we are looking at the system from "above", like looking down on a plate on which peas are rolling around, then the apparent distance between them is the same as the actual distance between them. If we're looking at them edge-on, then we don't really know how far apart they are. The apparent distance sets the lower bound for the actual distance, but the upper bound is unknown. And yes, there's always a degree of conjecture in astronnomy. All we can really say is that there are three black holes near the centre of that galaxy, and they are almost certainly in orbit around each other.

What people don't seem to understand is, science relies on publishing of un-proven theories. You observe, model, predict, publish, and eventually you will be either proven right or wrong. Without the "publish" step, especially in long-term sciences like astronomy where it could take centuries for a theory to tested (such as, "will that comet return in a hundred years"), you could make a thousand contradictory predictions and then publish the one that happened - by co-incidence - to be correct. If you limit yourself to a single prediction, which turns out to be correct, then you are worth paying attention to. My mum is always saying "Scientists keep getting things wrong, therefore all science is rubbish". Getting things wrong is crucual to scientific progress.

Re:Please explain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47337897)

Ahah, thank you. So the uncertainty is that we may not be looking at them at their full distance from each other in one axis. We can see that they're currently* 450 light years apart on the one plane we're able to view them from, but they may also be, say, 125 light years from each other in the depth we can't see.

My mistake was thinking they could estimate the distance to the objects individually quite well, based on expected mass etc, but as you point out, at the cosmic scale there's currently no accuracy in that regard.

* sigh, yes not currently, let's all just let that pass.. 'currently observable at 450 ly apart' better?

Re:Please explain (4, Insightful)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about a month ago | (#47331607)

For all intents and purposes, the objects are the same distance from Earth. They're 450 light-years from each other and both are approximately 4.3 BILLION light-years from Earth. The maximum difference in distance between object A and Earth and object B and Earth is 0.000010465116% (450 / 4.3x10^9 * 100). Close enough to the same distance. For reference, the same delta applied to 1 AU (93,000,000 mile Earth-Sun distance) yields 9.73 miles.

how do they know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47331609)

how do you figure out that they circle each other when the light takes a few billion years to travel here from each, and these things take 4 million years to orbit each other? probably some rather significant difference in the time it takes for the light to get here from each too. just curious..

Re:how do they know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47332155)

how do you figure out that they circle each other when the light takes a few billion years to travel here from each, and these things take 4 million years to orbit each other? probably some rather significant difference in the time it takes for the light to get here from each too. just curious..

Subtract out the largish red shift that comes from being 4.3Gly away. You're left with small red and blue shifts of the objects relative to each other. If you know how far away they are you can tell how far apart they are (450ly). If you know how far apart they are and how fast they're traveling around each other, you can figure out how long each orbit takes.

There might also be oscillations in what gets spewed out from the region. Same principal applies - you don't have to see the garden sprinkler to know how fast it's rotating in RPM - just look at how fast the water's spraying outwards, and look at the shape of the arcs of water over your lawn.

Eddies in the space time continuum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47332213)

..is he, is he?

Touch this black hole dude (3, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a month ago | (#47332443)

I learned one important thing from that web site: It was programmed by yet another clown who feels it's vital to have a menu overlay taking up 25% of my scarce phone screen real estate.

I propose a Constitutional amendment to execute them. Whoever decided tiny screens need to be even tinier deserves it.

Classification (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47332881)

It's certainly a Monster Mash. but as the gravitational churning is likely to stimulate extensive star formation in the galactic core, it likely does not constitute a Graveyard Smash.

confusing headline (0)

tverbeek (457094) | about a month ago | (#47333927)

From the headline, I thought this was a story about damage to a smartphone.

Three black holes? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47334173)

More like three guys, and one goatse.

Capcha: coined

Galaxies Orbit (1)

lazy genes (741633) | about a month ago | (#47339863)

Galaxies usually orbit around a massive round one in their cluster. The shape of spiral galaxies is produced by the shape of the fabric of space time as they approach each other at the end of their cycle. After they pass each other they change shape and will evolve into every type of galaxy shape until they finish the cycle as a spiral. The orbiting galaxies flip when they reach the farthest distance from each other and start back on another collision course. Each shape is specific to their position of the cycle.

Re:Galaxies Orbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47344537)

The oldest galaxies are all elliptical galaxies, irregular are young ones, and spiral are in the middle though... It isn't a cycle and the structure can be explained without outside interaction but just the dynamics of stars and gas.
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