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Scientists Spot Rare 'In Between' Black Hole

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the time-for-a-field-trip dept.

Space 182

An anonymous reader writes "Scientists have found a doomed star orbiting what appears to be a medium-sized black hole. This black hole appears to be a theorized 'in-between' category of black hole that has eluded confirmation and frustrated scientists for more than a decade."

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Wouldn't that be a... (4, Funny)

d474 (695126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423594)

...gray hole?

Re:Wouldn't that be a... (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423639)

Tween [elook.org] -hole.

Re:Wouldn't that be a... (0)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423640)

Seeing as how stars are white and black holes are black, yeah, that does sound about right.

Re:Wouldn't that be a... (4, Funny)

iced_773 (857608) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423755)


Seeing as how stars are white

My star's yellow [wikipedia.org] , you (insensitive || extrasolar) clod!

Re:Wouldn't that be a... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14423780)

Your star's yellow what?

Re:Wouldn't that be a... (1)

bman08 (239376) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423911)

the apostrophe that you think you're making fun of is correctly used. It's for the contraction of star is.

not to be anal (1)

Douglas Simmons (628988) | more than 8 years ago | (#14424064)

of which you are making fun ...

Re:Wouldn't that be a... (5, Funny)

bhunachchicken (834243) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423732)

They'll probably call in a Hawkings Hole just to annoy Philip...

Re:Wouldn't that be a... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14423821)

and we now see it as an extremely luminous X-ray source because the companion star has expanded and is feeding the black hole.
I hope the companion didn't feed it after midnight.

Re:Wouldn't that be a... (1)

krappie (172561) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423928)

I hope the companion didn't feed it after midnight.

Its always after midnight.

Re:Wouldn't that be a... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14423967)

...gray hole?

Gay Hole, according to Kansas Astronomy Association, after the color of the hole was discovered to be brown. Why do you think God has doomed it? Later, president Bush explained his moral concerns on space exploration and named Pat Robertson to new NASA president to promote healthy Christian values in Universe, there was also talk about sending the Pope to ISS.

In related news, Elton John has invested considerable amounts in Virgin Galactic for a private ride.

Re:Wouldn't that be a... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14424045)

I always thought the in-between hole was the taint.

Re:Wouldn't that be a... (2, Funny)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 8 years ago | (#14424229)

Ass-tron-o-me 101:

No, the in-between space is the taint. An in-between hole would either be an anal fistula or a vaginal fistula. A super massive black hole would be goatse, and a standard black hole has already wiped out more crap than you would care to consider. A wormhole is a vaginal-to-anal fistula, and hyperspace gate triggers are made by Hitachi [amazon.com] .

Be sure to tune in tomorrow when we offer penetrating insights into what trans-dimensional travel implies for space-borne dildo use.

Intelligent Falling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14424196)

I would like to point out that theories of gravity by means of particle/wave thingies are by no means proven. I call bullshit - this phenomenon is clearly too complicated to be understood by us mortal humans, and must be the work of some great almighty, all-seeing being, ie God, or the Intelligent Designer. Let's hear it for Intelligent Falling, the theory that God helps things, planets, and even individual atoms to fall to their correct places. Here's my proof:
http://www.theonion.com/content/node/39512 [theonion.com]

Brynjar

p.s. A new requirement from Paradise Gate Security just got called in. Absolute belief in Intelligent Falling is now required for Paradise entry - and those that refuse to belief might also be shocked to see what happens if the Great Lord decides to turn off gravity for the heathen :D

Wow. (2, Informative)

Maxite (782150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423595)

The link leads to some sort of science blog. An interesting discovery none the less.

Re:Wow. (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423622)

However did you come to that conclusion?

Is it because... the website's name is scienceblog.com?

anyways, someone care to explain this for me?
"As a result, gas from the star is spilling into the black hole, causing the whole region to light up. This is a well-studied region of the sky, and we spotted the star with a little luck and a lot of perseverance."

A black hole is an object so dense and with a gravitational force so intense that nothing, not even light, can escape its pull once within its boundary. A black hole region becomes visible when matter falls toward it and heats to high temperatures. This light is emitted before the matter crosses the border, called the event horizon.
So light is escaping. From the vicinity of a black hole.

Re:Wow. (5, Informative)

jdhutchins (559010) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423656)

anyways, someone care to explain this for me?
Yes- The gas circling the black hole, outside the event horizon, heats up due to friction. It gets hot enough to emit light along with UV, xrays, and often gamma rays. This gas isn't inside the black hole, so light can still get out. Once it falls into the black hole, no more light comes from it, but before then, there is usually a lot of light.

Re:Wow. (1)

bigpicture (939772) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423840)

Black Holes are the vacuum cleaners of the Universe. Don't let them suck you in.

I was thinking (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423870)

It is now known that the Great Bear grew large and strong on a diet of massive black holes...

If you don't get it, look up where this is located in the sky.

Re:Wow. (4, Interesting)

tloh (451585) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423895)

This gas isn't inside the black hole, so light can still get out. Once it falls into the black hole, no more light comes from it, but before then, there is usually a lot of light.

A thought just occured to me. They say nothing can escape from a black hole due to it's huge gravity. Not even light. We know photons are the carriers of the electromagnetic force, one of the 4 fundamental forces in nature. I believe we have identified the carriers of the nuclear strong force and the nuclear weak force as well. But the suposed graviton has remained elusive and unidentified. By their very nature, though, shouldn't we be able to conclude that in order for black holes to generate such intense gravitational fields, they must allow their own gravitons to interact with nearby objects? In other words, the carriers for the force of gravity must be allowed to escape the black hole in order to exert that very force. Wait a minute....I can't be saying that right. Let's try again, suppose communication through an event horizon is possible - with gravity waves.

?????

Profit?

Re:Wow. (1)

madhippy (525384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423908)

I may be very drunk ... but I think poster has a point .. please mod up ...

Re:Wow. (2, Funny)

protocol420 (758109) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423958)

I may be very high ... but I think poster has a point .. please mod up ...

Re:Wow. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14424009)

One way to think about how black holes work is to think of a general potential energy well. Once the black hole gets to a certain mass, there will be a region in which the energy of a photon is less than that to escape the gravitational potential energy well (i.e. the photon is now in a bound system). There are many bound systems that occur in nature (our solar system, electrons around an atom, nucleons in the nucleus, etc.), but they are bound by only one force. Unless a graviton can exert a force on another graviton (which of course assumes that a graviton exists), there is no reason to believe that a graviton will be gravitationally bound in a black hole. As far as general relativistic issues, a graviton will have the same significance as a photon, in theory. It will travel at the speed of light relative to any particle. It is important to remember, that you can use the geometric considerations of general relativity (which doesn't define a graviton), or the views of geometrodynamics (quantum theory of gravity where gravitons are the force carriers), but not both at the same time. You can say gravity curves space, but you can't say the gravity curves 'gravity' (or affects gravitons).

Re:Wow. (2, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14424018)

hey must allow their own gravitons to interact with nearby objects

Gravitons are hypothetical; no one has ever observed a graviton. Gravitons, if they exist, allow their force to escape black holes, which would seem to imply that gravitons do not act on each other (since they are not pulling themselves into the black hole).

IANA theoretical physicist, would one please chime in?

Re:Wow. (1)

flonker (526111) | more than 8 years ago | (#14424071)

The theory more specifically states that "information" can't pass the event horizon. Hence, Hawking radiation. Same as "information" can't travel faster than the speed of light, although objects can. (neutrinos).

IANA theoretical physicist and would appreciate any corrections.

Re:Wow. (5, Informative)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 8 years ago | (#14424106)

I am a physicist. Two points: Information cannot come out of a black hole. This is why hawking radiation is high entropy. Information is lost. A chair falls in. Hawking radiation comes out, much higher entropy which is a loss of information. Nothing can pass outwards through the event horizon. Well, nothing with positive mass, positive energy, velocities less than or equal to the speed of light, essentially, nothing that is currently recognized as real. Pink unicorns...maybe... Hawking radiation does not pass outwards through the event horizon. It is a quantum mechanical process that occurs outside the event horizon, and involves anti-particles falling into the blackhole. Gravity does not have a well understood mechanism. My field is stellar astrophysics, not string theory or fundamental physics, so i don't know the current cutting edge in those fields well. However, in practice, we understand very closely how gravity acts on objects, we can very precisely predict its effects. We don't really know much about the mechanism. There's a lot of theorizing in some circles, but with no experimental data to verify any of it, its not really meaningful.

Re:Wow. (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 8 years ago | (#14424118)

Sorry about the lack of paragraphs, I need to remember to change the formatting on my posts to plain text, and not leave it as HTML.

Re:Wow. (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14424139)

PC LOAD LETTER: What hypothetical observation would prove that we aren't surrounded by invisbile gay pink elephants named Morty?
kronicfeld: The name is "Stampy," goddammit.
swahnhennessy: You see them, too?

your pink unicorn comment reminded me of this bit of nonsense from a fark thread.

Re:Wow. (2, Interesting)

HiThere (15173) | more than 8 years ago | (#14424204)

I believe that Hawking gave up on that proposition, and that it is now accepted that information DOES come back out of a black hole. And that the Hawking radiation isn't random, but is a result of the information previously fed into it. According to this theory (which I believe to be current orthodoxy) Hawking radiation is no more random than is /dev/random...and no less. Saying it isn't truly random doesn't mean that you can usefully predict it.

Re:Wow. (1)

Bazzalisk (869812) | more than 8 years ago | (#14424044)

Things do emerge from blackholes (such as, so called "Hawking Radiation"), theoreticly gravity waves might be amongst those things.

Still no information can emerge (according to current theories) - the output is (as far as we can tell) entirely random.

Re:Wow. (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 8 years ago | (#14424059)

No, hawking radiation occurs outside of a black hole. it does not emerge from one.

Re:Wow. (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 8 years ago | (#14424078)

Not necessarily. Just as hawking radiation allows a black hole to radiate without anything passing outwards through the event horizon, there is no reason a graviton from the black hole has to pass outwards through the event horizon.

Re:Wow. (4, Informative)

ta ma de (851887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14424081)

I have had a martini made with Old Raj so bare with me and my grammer, please. A black hole is an object whose mass vs radius is smaller than the shwartz (somehting or another) radius, meaning that a black hole need not be made of a lot of material. You could theoretically make a black hole with only a few atoms, provided their shwartz(and some stuff) raduis was suffiecently small. The shwartz* radius is related to the inverse square law of gravity. In otherwords blackholes need not be menacing and made of a lot of matter. One of the accelerators someplace was making very small blackholes to study them. Their gravity wasn't particularly scary, they just had a radius small enough that light could not escape the miniscule gravitational feild. This concludes your episode of poor spelling and grammar, thanks for reading.

Re:Wow. (1)

Fanro (130986) | more than 8 years ago | (#14424164)

Ok,I'm no scientist either.
But I remember reading that a black hole can have exactly three properties: mass, electric charge and spin. Since electric charge is caried by (virtual) photons, does that mean photons do escape a black hole?

Re:Wow. (4, Informative)

no reason to be here (218628) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423663)

Once light crosses the event horizon, it cannot escape. As matter approaches the event horizon and accelerates, it becomes excited and emits energy in the EM spectrum. The faster it goes, the higher the frequency (from IR to visible to X-ray). A large black hole would be able to attract large amounts of matter, and that matter would accelerate very quickly, and thus would shine (in the X-Ray range) very brightly.

In fact, you said it perfectly yourself without realizing it. Light is escapeing from the vicinity of the black hole, not the black hole itself.

Re:Wow. (1)

Maxite (782150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423667)

It's not the blackhole that they found, but the gas that was about to fall into the black hole. As gas goes around a black hole, it forms a sort of disc that spirals inward. As it gets closer to the event horizon, it speeds up. The friction and collisions of the gas become great, and as they heat up they give off radiation. It's the radiation that the scientists are detecting.

Re:Wow. (1)

csartanis (863147) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423881)

You seem to have missed the most important word:
This light is emitted before the matter crosses the border, called the event horizon.

Yep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14424079)

So light is escaping. From the vicinity of a black hole.

Correct.

Light can escape as long as it's not emitted beyond the event horizon. Accreting black holes can be very significant x-ray sources: you see x-rays from the infalling gas, which is intensely heated as it falls in. However, unlike gas falling onto a neutron star, you don't see any emission due to gas actually hitting the surface, since there isn't a surface.

I hope that helps!

A friendly neighborhood astrophysicist

Uh oh... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14423601)

She gone from suck to blow!

Oh, that's not what you meant by 'In Between.'

Re:Uh oh... (2, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423620)

No. I think "in between" is where the switch is stuck in the middle (i.e., "subl" or "she's gonna blow"). Either way, something bad is gonna happen.

Didn't say where the black hole is, but (-1, Flamebait)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423602)

I think it's somewhere near Calcutta.

Re:Didn't say where the black hole is, but (1, Funny)

ion++ (134665) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423652)

I think it's somewhere near Uranus.

Re:Didn't say where the black hole is, but (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423797)

No, not Myanus ... Uranus.

Admiral Akbar says: (4, Funny)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423603)

It's a trap!

Re:Admiral Akbar says: (1)

icedcool (446975) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423823)

Playin to the wrong crowd. I think your looking for fark.

Oh yeah? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14423904)

It's a trap! http://www.itsatrap.net/ [itsatrap.net]

Re:Oh yeah? (1)

richdun (672214) | more than 8 years ago | (#14424170)

Wow, what a waste of a domain registration fee.

"Tain't? (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423612)

Sounds like 'tain't to me: "'tain't pussy, 'tain't asshole- it's inbetween!"

Re:"Tain't? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14423951)

Also called a buddy. Keeps you in the good times and out of the shit.

Re:"Tain't? (1)

Mr Thinly Sliced (73041) | more than 8 years ago | (#14424056)

In england that little piece of skin is called 'No mans land'.

So called after the region in-between the two sides in a land army war, where they would play football together on christmas day.

I'm not really sure what the football bit brings to the analogy though.

article text (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14423617)

saved for posterity before it gets slashdotted

Dying Star Reveals More Evidence for New Kind of Black Hole
Submitted by BJS on Sun, 2006-01-08 11:58.
Posted in space | login or register to post comments | printer friendly page

Scientists using NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer have found a doomed star orbiting what appears to be a medium-sized black hole - a theorized "in-between" category of black hole that has eluded confirmation and frustrated scientists for more than a decade.

With the discovery of the star and its orbital period, scientists are now one step away from measuring the mass of such a black hole, a step which would help verify its existence. The star's period and location already fit into the main theory of how these black holes could form.

A team led by Prof. Philip Kaaret of the University of Iowa, Iowa City, announced these results today in Science Express. The results will also appear in the Jan. 27 issue of Science.

"We caught this otherwise ordinary star in a unique stage in its evolution, toward the end of its life when it has bloated into a red giant phase," said Kaaret. "As a result, gas from the star is spilling into the black hole, causing the whole region to light up. This is a well-studied region of the sky, and we spotted the star with a little luck and a lot of perseverance."

A black hole is an object so dense and with a gravitational force so intense that nothing, not even light, can escape its pull once within its boundary. A black hole region becomes visible when matter falls toward it and heats to high temperatures. This light is emitted before the matter crosses the border, called the event horizon.

Our galaxy is filled with millions of stellar-mass black holes, each with the mass of a few suns. These form from the collapse of very massive stars. Most galaxies possess at their core a supermassive black hole, containing the mass of millions to billions of suns confined to a region no larger than our solar system. Scientists do not know how these form, but it likely entails the collapse of enormous quantities of primordial gas.

"In the past decade, several satellites have found evidence of a new class of black holes, which could be between 100 and 10,000 solar masses," said Dr. Jean Swank, Rossi Explorer project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. "There has been debate about the masses and how these black holes would form. Rossi has provided major new insight."

These suspected mid-mass black holes are called ultra-luminous X-ray objects because they are bright sources of X-rays. In fact, most of these black hole mass estimates have been based solely on a calculation of how strong a gravitational pull is needed to produce light of a given intensity.

Kaaret's group at the University of Iowa, which includes Prof. Cornelia Lang and Melanie Simet, an undergraduate, made a measurement that can be used in the equation to directly calculate mass. Using straightforward Newtonian physics, scientists can calculate an object's mass once they know an orbital period and velocity of smaller objects rotating around it.

"We found a rise and fall in X-ray light every 62 days, likely caused by the orbit of the companion star around the black hole," said Simet. "The velocity will be hard to determine, however, because the star is located in such a dust-obscured area. This makes it hard for optical and infrared telescopes to observe the star and make velocity calculations. Yet for now, knowing just the orbital period is very revealing."

The suspected mid-mass black hole, known as M82 X-1, is a well-studied ultra-luminous X-ray object in a nearby star cluster containing about a million stars packed into a region only about 100 light years across. A leading theory proposes that a multitude of star collisions over a short period in a crowded region will create a short-lived gigantic star that collapses into a 1,000-solar-mass black hole. The cluster near M82 X-1 has a high-enough density to form such a black hole. No normal companion could provide enough fuel to make M82 X-1 shine so brightly. But the 62-day orbital period implies that the companion must have a very low density. This fits the scenario of a bloated super-giant star losing mass at a rate high enough to fuel M82 X-1.

"With this discovery of the orbital period, we now have a consistent picture of the whole evolution of a mid-mass black hole binary," said Kaaret. "It was formed in a 'super' star cluster; the black hole then captured a companion star; the companion star evolved to the giant stage; and we now see it as an extremely luminous X-ray source because the companion star has expanded and is feeding the black hole."

slightly OT (2, Interesting)

no reason to be here (218628) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423628)

OK, this question just occured to me. I'm sure there is an obvious answer that I am overlooking.

How do/did the heaviest elements, which are/were formed in the largest stars, escape from those stars that ultimately become/became neutron stars and black holes? I know that elements are flung out from the star via super novae, but wouldn't the heaviest elements be at the core of the star that remains? how would they get out? Shouldn't they all be trapped in the stellar remnants?

Re:slightly OT (1)

pe1rxq (141710) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423653)

Not all stars become a black hole, some just go poof and die.
And its perfectly possible for heavy objects to be at the edges, think about gliders flying on convection.

Re:slightly OT (1)

no reason to be here (218628) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423695)

Not all stars become a black hole, some just go poof and die.

I know, but the ones that just go poof and die - I thought - would only produce elements up to carbon or so. Though, yes, I suppose you are right that the possiblity that heavier elements could be on the outside of the H/He shell explosion is possible.

Re:slightly OT (1)

grahamlee (522375) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423793)

In fusion, most things up to Iron can be produced. However, it's not the *entire* star that becomes a black hole, it's whatever's left at the end (which may include after a supernova) - if there was a supernova towards the end of a star's life then that can provide the pressures necessary to create heavier elements. What's left over can become a white dwarf, neutron star or black hole or whatever - and a nice pretty planetary nebula too ;-)

Re:slightly OT (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14424011)

In fusion, most things up to Iron can be produced.

Um. No. A fusion reaction can create any substance up to uranium and beyond. In fact, humans are continually creating substances beyond uranium (plutonium being one) through fusion reactions. It's just that fusion reactions to produce elements heavier than iron require energy, rather than giving off energy.

In the early stages of a star's life, it's fusing hydrogen atoms to produce helium. This is the most energetic fusion reaction, and is the only fusion reaction we're likely to be able to sustainably exploit to our own ends through artificial means. As the star grows older, and has less hydrogen, it will increasingly generate its energy through other fusion reactions, producing elements up to iron. (These reactions will occur throughout the star's life; it's just that they will become proportionally more important as the star ages.)

Eventually, the energy produced through these fusions will die off, and the star will undergo gravitational collapse. During this phase, the energy consuming fusion reactions will occur, generating the heavier-than-iron elements. This phase only occurs in massive supernova; it won't happen in our sun -- it's not big enough.

Re:slightly OT (1)

jdhutchins (559010) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423682)

The heavy elements are usually blown away in the supernova explosion. Some of them may end up in an ensuing black hole, but the ones that get blown away are often going a sizable percentage of the speed of light, so they don't fall back in.

Re:slightly OT (1)

TallMatthew (919136) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423686)

That's a good question. Is the dispersion of elements within a star weighted, with the heavier elements located within its core, or is it uniform?

I found this on NASA's web site: http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/teachers/lessons /xray_spectra/background-elements.html [nasa.gov]

It suggests that heavier atoms are created during supernovae, as well as in the ISM during "day to day operations." Maybe the relative lack of heavier atoms in space has something to do with the fact they are all sucked into black holes?

Re:slightly OT (4, Informative)

Tango42 (662363) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423741)

I think elements heavier than iron (the heaviest element that can be produced by fusion while making energy, rather than using it) are formed *during* the supernova, which only lasts a few seconds (or maybe hours/days - ask an expert - it doesn't matter though) and don't have time to fall to the centre because they're already exploding outwards - it's the explosion itself that produces them (pressure wave causes high density, causes fusion).

Re:slightly OT (5, Informative)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423809)

The key to creating heavy elements is a large neutron flux from the supernova. Nuclei pick up lots of neutrons quickly during a time span of a few seconds (shorter than the free neutron half life of 13 minutes) and then undergo a quick succession of beta decays followed by a longer beta decay series over millions of years to form stuff like gold and uranium.

Heavier elements (3, Interesting)

rcamans (252182) | more than 8 years ago | (#14424152)

Elements heavier than iron consume more energy in their creation than their fusion process gives off. But that does not mean that they are not formed in a normal star's process. It just means that only a little of them are formed in a star's normal process. Stars do not fuse elements that produce energy in fusion, they fuse elements. The primary star energy is from hydrogen and helium fusion. The neutron flux, as well as the rest of the atoms hitting one another, can result in fusion. if two atoms hit each other in a way that will result in fusion, then they fuse. There are not a lot of iron atoms moving around fast enough to fuse with neutrons, hydrogen or helium, and some of the isotopes formed are radioactive. Since this is all going on in the core of the star, we will not see much evidence of it.

Doomed (4, Funny)

AkA lexC (939709) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423644)

If stars had been given categories like 'Doomed', i think i'd have paid more attention in my astronomy course. What Would Chandrasekar Do?

Ah what a body of work the universe is (2, Interesting)

99luftballon (838486) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423649)

The more we see the more we can understand, and the more questions occur.

Given the possible variation in black hole sizes this poses some interesting problems for long term space travel. Mini-holes will pose major danger during high speed travel unless some fast detection method is found. This has resonances with Arthur C Clarke's story about the star mangled spanner...

Re:Ah what a body of work the universe is (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423689)

Given the possible variation in black hole sizes this poses some interesting problems for long term space travel. Mini-holes will pose major danger during high speed travel unless some fast detection method is found.

I don't mean to be boring or anything, but you do realize humanity is still at the "how do we get out of our miserable gravity well and go further than the moon on chemical power" stage, right?

So I think we can safely set aside the high-speed mini-hole collision hazard problem for now.

Re:Ah what a body of work the universe is (1)

99luftballon (838486) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423706)

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars - Oscar Wilde.

Re:Ah what a body of work the universe is (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423735)

You may be looking at them, but you're still not moving towards them at anything like an appreciable fraction of the speed of light. Until then, black holes ain't gonna be a problem.

Besides, if you're moving fast enough for it to be a problem without ripping apart you can more or less treat the entire vessel as a single particle. If you get close to C, then your mass will be insanely high with enough energy to ignore most things.

As with all current or theoretical physics, your mileage may vary.

Re:Ah what a body of work the universe is (1)

Tango42 (662363) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423757)

Hawking radition means small black holes "evaporate" very quickly, so there aren't likely to be many of them.

The abstract (3, Interesting)

2008 (900939) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423657)

The ultraluminous x-ray source (ULX) in M82 has been identified as a possible intermediate mass black hole formed in stellar collisions in the super star cluster MGG 11. We find that the x-ray flux from M82 is modulated with a peak to peak amplitude corresponding to an isotropic luminosity of 2.4 x 10^40 erg s-1 in M82 and a period of 62.0 ± 2.5 days, which we interpret as the orbital period of the ULX binary. This orbital period implies that the mass donor star must be a giant or supergiant. Large mass transfer rates, sufficient to fuel the ULX, are expected for a giant phase mass donor in an x-ray binary. The giant phase has a short life time, indicating that we see the ULX in M82 in a brief and unusual period of its evolution.

---

Reading this and the article, I'm not sure if the claim is necessarily valid. What's to stop this being a smaller black hole, a smaller star orbiting closer (with the same period), and beamed emission? An intermediate black hole is still the simplest explanation, but doesn't seem unique.

Whats funny.... (1)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 8 years ago | (#14424278)

Most people laugh when they read this because its got big words that they don't understand. Sounds full of jargon. We laugh because we _do_ understand.

The belly-button hole. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14423661)

"This black hole appears to be a theorized 'in-between' category of black hole that has eluded confirmation and frustrated scientists for more than a decade.""

Hole one: I'm an innie. Definatly an innie.

Hole two: I'm an outie. Definatly an outie.

Hole three: ????

Profit!

Goatse (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14423662)

I heard that there used to be plenty of those in the .cx domain.

PARENT MODERATION UNFAIR! (1, Informative)

no reason to be here (218628) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423712)

The parent comment was obviously intended as a joke. Maybe not a very good joke, but a joke, nevertheless. The off-topic mod is unfair as the poster is clearly making a joke with reference to the topic of the article (in-between black holes). Is there some sort of mechanism on /. to automatically mod down as off-topic any post with the word goatse somewhere in the title?

Re:PARENT MODERATION UNFAIR! (1)

Psycosys (886125) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423909)

How is the GP post on topic?

Re:PARENT MODERATION UNFAIR! (1)

no reason to be here (218628) | more than 8 years ago | (#14424195)

Read my post again. He was making a joke about the infamous goatse picture and its similarity to a black hole (or in-between black hole). Like I said, it's not a very good joke, but it was on-topic, after a fashion.

Re:PARENT MODERATION UNFAIR! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14424257)

It probably got off-topic because of slashdot's lack of a "damn stupid" moderation.

Really, the comment doesn't deserve to be read, it's at -1, everyone's happy (apart from you). Relax.

I have a black hole "in between" my... (0)

Caspian (99221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423724)

...uhh, never mind ;)

Re:I have a black hole "in between" my... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14423782)

You didn't believe Madonna when you told you to not be silly and wear a rubber on your willy did you?

Re:I have a black hole "in between" my... (1)

Macka (9388) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423889)

... ears? ;)

Invest now, (1)

rotagivan (885893) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423726)

sounds like a great tourist attraction!

I just got my Visa statement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14423773)

I know exactly how that Red Giant feels.. .

The scientific name for this phenomena is (1)

SensitiveMale (155605) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423795)

a 'taint hole.

Animation Automation (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423827)


I can't help but think that an intern did some tweening with a newfound graphics program.

Intelligent design can make predictions! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14423828)

Only intelligent designer can be explain such holes, but even intelligent designer makes mistakes sometimes...

If it's blue, we should ensure that liberal weenies voting there use properly preconfigured voting machines.
If it's green, it's those damn environmentalist and we gotta put it to nsa watchlist.
If it's red, it's a fucking commie hole and we gotta put it to nsa deathlist.
If it's brown, we all know the sins it's doomed for, so why not name it Sir Elton John Hole?

dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14423839)

scroll down a few stories

Eluded confirmation? (2, Informative)

marco0009 (716718) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423853)

The article says these medium sized black holes have eluded scientists for over a decade, yet according to Smithsonian Intimate Guide to the Cosmos:
... in 2003, findings from Hubble suggested that the star cluster M15 harbors a 4,000-solar-mass black hole, and that the cluster G1 is home to a black hole 20,000 times more massive than our own sun. These discoveries were the first evidence that we have a full range of black holes.
Was this simply further examples of similarly sized black holes?

Who did it this time? (0, Offtopic)

slashname3 (739398) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423872)

OK, who mooned the telescope again?

and now.. (1)

DeathByDuke (823199) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423875)

their server gets confirmation of the existence of the theorised slashdot black hole!

I wonder... (0, Flamebait)

d3m0nCr4t (869332) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423887)

Has the intelligent designer been busy again ?

In between what ? (2, Funny)

bushboy (112290) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423902)

... Breakfast and lunch ?

Hmm, maybe they did spot it inbetween breakfast and lunch, the statistics of that happening are high.

HUH? (1)

cmacb (547347) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423903)

FTA:

"With the discovery of the star and its orbital period, scientists are now one step away from measuring the mass of such a black hole, a step which would help verify its existence."

Is it just me or is even science journalism getting sloppy...

It seems to me that measuring the mass of something would not only help verify its existence, but prove it beyond the shadow of doubt.

Re:HUH? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14423974)

The thing is that it would still be possible that we do not know the entire picture, overlooked something, don't know about something important about space that would skew the experiment somehow... science is just full of theories, you don't want to nail yourself to anything that might be somehow disproven in a few years. Then you'll end up in lists of funny quotes for scientists.

Re:HUH? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14424102)

The other reply was too complex. Science doesn't prove anything, ever.

That's just not a proper term outside mathametics and theory.

sourcing (4, Insightful)

bman08 (239376) | more than 8 years ago | (#14423920)

What scientists spotted it? What scientists were frustrated? I'm really tired of stories sourced to 'scientists' and 'officials'. I'm sure that TFA has some of the material that I want, but that's not the point. On a by-the-word basis, the internet is, for all intents and purposes, free. Putting 5-7 words of additional information in the story wouldn't break the bank and it would really make this thing feel less lazy.

Re:sourcing (3, Funny)

Busy (890287) | more than 8 years ago | (#14424005)

Experts say we're better off without those extra 5-7 words of information.

Who are you to argue with the experts?

Re:sourcing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14424255)

Who are you to argue with the experts?

The expert's wife.

confusing? (1)

Nikolai Ivanoff (864571) | more than 8 years ago | (#14424020)

Wait, don't flame me for asking, but are they talking about something in-between a neutron star and a black hole?

Re:confusing? (1)

cheesygrapes (927272) | more than 8 years ago | (#14424309)

They're talking about inbetween a normal blackhole and a supermassive blackhole like the one in the center of the galaxy.
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