black holes

Category archives for black holes

“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 Black holes* are some of the most perplexing objects…

“This is the way I wanna die. Torn apart by angry fans who want me to play a different song.” -Regina Spektor You’re familiar with the classic picture of a black hole: a dark, dense region at the center from which no light can escape, surrounded by an accretion disk of matter that constantly feeds…

“If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?” -Albert Einstein Our galaxy is but one among hundreds of billions in the cosmos, nearly all of which contain supermassive black holes at the center. Ours happens to be “only” a few million times as massive as our…

A Little Black Hole Goes A Long Way

“[The black hole] teaches us that space can be crumpled like a piece of paper into an infinitesimal dot, that time can be extinguished like a blown-out flame, and that the laws of physics that we regard as ‘sacred,’ as immutable, are anything but.” -John A. Wheeler To an astronomer on any other world, the…

Was the Universe born with Black Holes?

“Birth and death; we all move between these two unknowns.” -Bryant H. McGill One of the most remarkable consequences of the Big Bang is that the Universe as we know it — full of planets, stars, galaxies and life — hasn’t been around forever! Because the Universe is expanding and cooling, it was hotter, denser,…

We’re going to see a black hole!!!

“A fact is a simple statement that everyone believes. It is innocent, unless found guilty. A hypothesis is a novel suggestion that no one wants to believe. It is guilty, until found effective.” -Edward Teller The idea of black holes has gone from a curious thought experiment to a theoretical likelihood to a near-certainty —…

Are Miniature Black Holes Everywhere?

“It is no good getting furious if you get stuck. What I do is keep thinking about the problem but work on something else. Sometimes it is years before I see the way forward. In the case of information loss and black holes, it was 29 years.” -Stephen Hawking When we look out at the…

Fun with Colliding Galaxies!

“Where there is an observatory and a telescope, we expect that any eyes will see new worlds at once.” -Henry David Thoreau This past weekend, the Astronomy Picture of the Day was a remarkable shot of the giant spiral galaxy NGC 6872, taken by the Gemini Telescope. (It’s not Hubble, but Gemini is pretty impressive…

Some Surprises about Big Black Holes

“Einstein was wrong when he said, ‘God does not play dice.’ Consideration of black holes suggests, not only that God does play dice, but that he sometimes confuses us by throwing them where they can’t be seen.” -Stephen Hawking Welcome back to Starts With A Bang after a brief vacation! Apparently, I go away for…

Black Hole Q&A

“Black holes are where God divided by zero.” -Stephen Wright Yesterday, I told you about all the evidence for the Black Hole at the center of our galaxy. In particular, we see multiple stars orbiting a single point that emits no light of any type at all. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, the comments became very active.…