black holes

Category archives for black holes

“For something to collapse, not all systems have to shut down. In most cases, just one system is enough.” -Robert Kiyosaki Do supermassive black holes form from the merger and growth of many smaller black holes, falling towards a cluster/galactic center where they find one another and grow into a behemoth? Or is there a…

“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” -Joseph Campbell One of the cardinal rules of a black hole is that anything that falls inside the event horizon — that crosses that invisible boundary — can never escape. That’s because the escape velocity from inside the event horizon…

“Black holes can bang against space-time as mallets on a drum and have a very characteristic song.” -Janna Levin If you had told an astrophysicist five years ago that binary black holes were common, that would’ve been news, but not surprising. If you had told them that ~30 solar masses was a good estimate for…

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” -T.S. Eliot Now that not just one but two gravitational wave events have been directly detected, we’re officially in the era of true gravitational wave astronomy. LIGO…

“Mozart’s music is like an X-ray of your soul – it shows what is there, and what isn’t.” -Isaac Stern When supermassive black holes have a large amount of matter fall onto them, they accelerate a large amount of the ionized material — particularly electrons — into high-velocity, bi-directional jets. In many cases, those jets…

“If you’ve seen one gamma-ray burst, you’ve seen one gamma-ray burst!” -Common quote among gamma-ray burst astronomers, emphasizing how little we know about them. When the first gravitational wave signal ever, GW150914, was directly detected, NASA’s Fermi GBM team shocked the world by announcing the detection of a high-energy burst of electromagnetic radiation. This was…

“It turned out that nature was very kind, and there appear to be many of these black holes in the Universe and we were lucky enough to see one.” -Dave Reitze, executive director of LIGO On September 14th, 2015, just days after turning on, the twin Advanced LIGO detectors detected the first gravitational wave signature:…

“That what wrong with the media today. All they have is questions, questions, questions. They never have cookies.” -Cookie Monster There are lots of things to worry about in this Universe, including falling into a black hole. But unless you happen to fall directly into the event horizon, an incredibly small region of space for…

“Not only does God play dice, but… he sometimes throws them where they cannot be seen.” -Stephen Hawking The New York Times ran an article on Stephen Hawking promising there was a possible escape route from a black hole, after all. In the text, Hawking asserts, “They are not the eternal prisons they were once…

“What’s really exciting is what comes next. I think we’re opening a window on the universe — a window of gravitational wave astronomy.” -Dave Reitze On September 14, 2015, LIGO directly detected gravitational waves for the first time, from the inspiral-and-merger of two quite massive black holes. Despite the fact that no electromagnetic radiation signal…