Merging galaxies can contain multiple active supermassive black holes

Japanese astronomers have learned that merging galaxies can contain at least a pair of active and luminous supermassive black holes. Typically, only one of the two black holes are activated like this, leading the astronomers to speculate that something unique is happening in the environment to get them going. » 1/29/14 9:00am 1/29/14 9:00am

How to power a starship with an artificial black hole

According to theory, it may be possible to create an advanced propulsion system that would harness the available energy from an evaporating black hole, a so-called Schwarzschild Kugelblitz drive. Here's how it would work. » 1/16/14 4:00pm 1/16/14 4:00pm

An entirely new class of galaxy-escaping hypervelocity stars

Every once in a while, the Milky Way's supermassive black hole flings a wayward star into intergalactic space at speeds reaching 2 million miles per hour. But astronomers have now discovered a surprising new class of "hypervelocity stars" that can escape the galaxy — and they don't need the galactic core to do it. » 1/10/14 8:00am 1/10/14 8:00am

Small Black Holes Are Deadlier Than Previously Thought

There’s a black hole in a galaxy 22 million light-years away that’s incredibly bright and energetic. Astronomers naturally assumed it was a supermassive black hole. But new observations show it’s actually quite tiny — throwing many conceptions of what we thought we knew about these things completely out the window. » 11/28/13 8:00am 11/28/13 8:00am

Can you tell what a black hole has been eating?

Black holes have a justifiably terrifying reputation. If you drop your keys in there, forget them, because they are gone. But are matters really so bad? Can a black hole "remember" what it's eaten? In this week's "Ask a Physicist" we'll find out. » 7/12/13 1:00pm 7/12/13 1:00pm

Watch this black hole take a bite out of a rogue super-Jupiter

Astronomers working at the ESA's Integral Space Observatory have observed a planet about 14-to-30 times the mass of Jupiter stray just a little too close to a dormant black hole. The gas giant (or possibly a brown dwarf) managed to avoid complete annihilation, but the black hole was still able to chomp down on a good… » 4/03/13 7:40am 4/03/13 7:40am