black holes

Category archives for black holes

How can we see black holes?

“According to the special theory of relativity nothing can travel faster than light, so that if light cannot escape, nothing else can either. The result would be a black hole: a region of space-time from which it is not possible to escape to infinity.” -Stephen Hawking You may have encountered objects that are the same…

Messier Monday: Bode’s Galaxy, M81

“When you look at the stars and the galaxy, you feel that you are not just from any particular piece of land, but from the solar system.” -Kalpana Chawla Welcome to this week’s Messier Monday, where I pick a new object out of the original catalogue of 110 “faint fuzzies” designed to help comet-hunters avoid…

“There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere.” -Isaac Asimov One of the most spectacular and successful ideas of the 20th Century was Einstein’s General Relativity, or the idea that matter and energy determines the curvature of spacetime, and the curvature of spacetime in turn determines…

“Black holes, which have no memory, are said to contain the earliest memories of the universe, and the most recent, too, while at the same time obliterating all memory by obliterating all its embodiments. Such paradoxes characterize these strange galactic monsters, for whom creation is destruction, death life, chaos order.” -Robert Coover Our Milky Way,…

“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 —…