Ripples, Waves, and Genesis…

Numerical simulation of the neutron stars merging to form a black hole, with their accretion disks interacting to produce electromagnetic waves. Credit: L. Rezolla (AEI) & M. Koppitz (AEI & Zuse-Institut Berlin) Topics: Black Holes, Cosmology, General Relativity, Gravity, Research Scientists have advanced in discovering how to use ripples in space-time known as gravitational wavesContinue reading “Ripples, Waves, and Genesis…”

Modified Gravity…

Rotation curve of the typical spiral galaxy M 33 (yellow and blue points with error bars) and the predicted one from the distribution of the visible matter (white line). The discrepancy between the two curves is accounted for by adding a dark matter halo surrounding the galaxy. Credit: Wikipedia Topics: Astronomy, Astrophysics, Cosmology, Dark MatterContinue reading “Modified Gravity…”

Heart of Darkness…

Topics: Astrophysics, Black Holes, Cosmology, Einstein, General Relativity In a triumph of observation and data processing, astronomers at the Event Horizon Telescope have captured the first-ever picture of the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. The black hole is named Sagittarius A* (pronounced “A-star”), and the reveal of its image received anContinue reading “Heart of Darkness…”

Shadow of Infinity…

Topics: Black Holes, Cosmology, Einstein, General Relativity When galaxies collide, the central supermassive black holes that they contain begin to orbit each other. This supermassive black hole binary attracts gas, which flows through the system to form two disk-shaped structures, one around each of the supermassive black holes. The gas in these “minidisks” heats asContinue reading “Shadow of Infinity…”

Rogue Singularity…

Topics: Astrophysics, Black Holes, Cosmology, Einstein, General Relativity Each second, a brand new baby black hole is born somewhere in the cosmos as a massive star collapses under its own weight. But black holes themselves are invisible. Historically, astronomers have only been able to detect these stellar-mass black holes when they are acting on aContinue reading “Rogue Singularity…”

Cosmic Existentialism…

Topics: Astronomy, Astrophysics, Black Holes, Cosmology, Einstein, General Relativity “Small” black holes are estimated to make up 1% of the universe’s matter. Scientists have estimated the number of “small” black holes in the universe. And no surprise: It’s a lot. This number might seem impossible to calculate; after all, spotting black holes is not exactly the simplestContinue reading “Cosmic Existentialism…”

Interstellar Cellular Membranes…

Topics: Astrobiology, Biology, Chemistry, Cosmology The origin of life is one of the great unanswered questions in science. One piece of this puzzle is that life started on Earth 4.5 billion years ago, just a few hundred million years after the formation of the Solar System, and involved numerous critical molecular components. How did allContinue reading “Interstellar Cellular Membranes…”

Five Stages…

Topics: Astrophysics, Cosmology, Einstein, General Relativity, Star Trek Note: One of the things you find out about sophomore, or junior year in physics is faster-than-light travel violates causality: the arrow of time points forward, not in “loop-de-loop.” Thus, we can suspend belief as every version of Trek did time travel episodes, because superluminal speeds wouldContinue reading “Five Stages…”

Black Hole Storm…

Topics: Astrophysics, Black Holes, Cosmology, Einstein, General Relativity Note: From comments on a previous post, maybe science writers need to work on their chosen list of metaphors? In the far reaches of the Universe, a supermassive black hole is throwing a tantrum. It’s blowing a tremendous wind into intergalactic space, and we’re seeing the stormContinue reading “Black Hole Storm…”

Volume of Chaos…

Topics: Astronomy, Astrophysics, Cosmology Physicists have spent centuries grappling with an inconvenient truth about nature: Faced with three stars on a collision course, astronomers could measure their locations and velocities in nanometers and milliseconds and it wouldn’t be enough to predict the stars’ fates.  But the cosmos frequently brings together trios of stars and black holes.Continue reading “Volume of Chaos…”