black holes

Category archives for black holes

There’s something puzzling about black holes, if you stop to consider it. On the one hand, they’re objects so massive and dense — compacted into such a small region of space — that nothing can escape from it, not even light. That’s the definition of a black hole, and why “black” is in the name.…

“Nothing is lost… Everything is transformed.” –Michael Ende If you take all the kinetic motion out of a system, and have all the particles that make it up perfectly at rest, somehow even overcoming intrinsic quantum effects, you’d reach absolute zero, the theoretically lowest temperature of all. But what about the other direction? Is there a…

They say ‘A flat ocean is an ocean of trouble. And an ocean of waves… can also be trouble.’ So, it’s like, that balance. You know, it’s that great Oriental way of thinking, you know, they think they’ve tricked you, and then, they have.” –Nigel Tufnel When you travel towards an object like a moon,…

Does a black hole have a shape? Is there a front and back or side view? Does it look the same from all vantage points? When you think about a black hole, you very likely think about a large amount of mass, pulled towards a central location by the tremendous force of gravity. It’s not…

“And no one showed us to the land And no one knows the where’s or why’s But something stirs and something tries And starts to climb towards the light” –Pink Floyd, Echoes It’s pretty difficult to imagine, but a little over 300 years ago, a supernova — a dying, ultramassive star — exploded, giving rise…

“I just think too many nice things have happened in string theory for it to be all wrong. Humans do not understand it very well, but I just don’t believe there is a big cosmic conspiracy that created this incredible thing that has nothing to do with the real world.” –Ed Witten So the cat…

“It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.” –Joseph Campbell When we look at the centers of galaxies, it’s no surprise that there are large black holes there, millions or even billions of times the mass of the Sun. As we…

Out there in the Universe, black holes are some of the most extreme examples of physics in the Universe. Space is curved tremendously, there’s an incredible concentration of energy all in one, singular point, and everything that occurs, in theory, outside of the event horizon can be seen in our Universe. But what if one…

“Nobody ever did, or ever will, escape the consequences of his choices.” –Alfred A. Montapert You might not think of falling into a black hole as a choice, but in the case of this week’s Ask Ethan, someone is choosing to explore exactly that! Imagine, if you will, taking a solid object that’s completely outside of an…

“There is, I believe, in every disposition a tendency to some particular evil, a natural defect, which not even the best education can overcome.” “And your defect is a propensity to hate everybody.” “And yours… is wilfully to misunderstand them.” –Jane Austen Every time we go to higher and higher energies in our particle accelerators,…