One of two things happens when neutron stars collide: they merge together to form a new, larger neutron star, or they collapse into a black hole. But which happens when? That leads to another, trickier question: How big can a neutron star get? »
You’ve heard it before: In space, no one can hear you scream. That’s because sound doesn’t move through a vacuum, and everyone knows that space is a vacuum. The thing is, that’s not completely true. »
When a star wanders too close to a black hole, immense gravitational forces begin to rip it apart in an epic cosmic slaying called a “tidal disruption event.” Some of the star’s mass is flung outward into space, while the rest is drawn in, triggering a powerful flare that showers the sky with x-rays. »
One of the trickiest black hole concepts to grasp is also one of their most basic: Black holes don’t give off any light, so how do we still manage to “see” something that is functionally invisible? Here’s a tidy explanation of how that paradox works.
When scientists spotted this pair of black holes, it was a rare chance to observe black holes in the process of colliding. Soon, however, as they looked closer, scientists were consumed with a brand new question: Uh, hey, what’s that blinking light?
In the distant reaches of the Universe, exploding stars and supermassive black holes are bending the very fabric of spacetime. It’s hard to wrap our brains around such tremendous forces, but we may be able to quantify them, in the form of gravitational waves. A new European Space Agency mission marks humanity’s first… »
Six hundred million light years away, a pair of black holes spiral furiously about one another at the brilliant core of a starburst galaxy. »
Pierre-Simon Laplace lived from 1749 to 1827 and was busy the entire time. He wrote books, worked in politics, and figured out the secrets of the universe. One of those secrets he quietly withdrew from later copies of his books. Pity. »
Black holes have a rap for being hopeless vortexes of destruction, but what would really happen if you fell into one? According to Stephen Hawking, you might end up in another universe. »
There’s a lot going on in this brand new X-ray view of our galaxy’s center—but just what does all that sound, fury, and color mean?
Five billion years ago, a blazar abruptly flared, triggered an intense rain of gamma rays. Racing across the universe for millennia, they finally slammed into NASA’s Fermi satellite over several days this June, setting a new record for the most luminous high-energy object we’ve ever seen. »
There is a paradox in the universe: scientists believe that there are millions more giant black holes in the universe than we know about, and yet, if they are there, how would they remain hidden? It turns out they do so by hiding in something almost unbelievably common. »
Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar broke new ground in its scientifically accurate portrayal of black holes and wormholes. A scientific journal is now urging educators to feature the film in their classes when teaching such topics as general relativity.
The process by which stars form has been well established for decades. Then, in the 1990s, astronomers looked out on the universe and saw evidence everywhere telling them that they weren’t getting the whole picture. Stars were beginning to form, but then disappearing. How? »
We’ve been using the Hubble Space Telescope to watch a jet of material coming out of galaxy NGC 3862 for over twenty years. Only recently, after piecing together a string of pictures, have we seen what’s really happening.
By applying the rules of Einsteinian general relativity to data pulled in by the Pan-STARRS telescope, scientist have developed two distinct simulations of supermassive black hole mergers that are considered the best yet. »
Nothing lasts forever, not even black holes. According to Stephen Hawking, black holes will evaporate over vast periods of time. But how, exactly, does this happen?
Information can escape the clutches of a black hole, say researchers from Buffalo University. And incredibly, they say this information is not just gobbledygook — it can actually be deciphered to show what lies beneath. »
A black hole and its galaxy are locked in a cosmic struggle, evolving in tandem and balancing each other's growth. In this artist's recreation, you can see cosmic winds howling out of supermassive black hole PDS 456. These winds are so strong that they prevent the galaxy from forming new stars. »
If you were going to travel close to a black hole in order to study it, which type should you choose? Most people would probably pick a smaller black hole, because it seems easier to avoid. But that's a fatal mistake. Small black holes can be far more dangerous than big ones, due to a terrifying process called… »