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Topic: Black Holes

NASA reports astronomers may have seen light from the merger of Two Black Holes

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says when two black holes spiral around each other and ultimately collide, they send out gravitational waves – ripples in space and time that can be detected with extremely sensitive instruments on Earth.

Since black holes and black hole mergers are completely dark, these events are invisible to telescopes and other light-detecting instruments used by astronomers. However, theorists have come up with ideas about how a black hole merger could produce a light signal by causing nearby material to radiate.

This artist's concept shows a supermassive black hole surrounded by a disk of gas. Embedded in this disk are two smaller black holes that may have merged together to form a new black hole. (Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC))

This artist’s concept shows a supermassive black hole surrounded by a disk of gas. Embedded in this disk are two smaller black holes that may have merged together to form a new black hole. (Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC))

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NASA’s Swift Observatory discovers newly created Neutron Star

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says astronomers tend to have a slightly different sense of time than the rest of us. They regularly study events that happened millions or billions of years ago, and objects that have been around for just as long.

That’s partly why the recently discovered neutron star known as Swift J1818.0-1607 is remarkable: A new study in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters estimates that it is only about 240 years old – a veritable newborn by cosmic standards.

NASA’s Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory spotted the young object on March 12th, when it released a massive burst of X-rays.

This illustration shows magnetic field lines protruding from a highly magnetic neutron star, or a dense nugget left over after a star goes supernova and explodes. Known as magnetars, these objects generate bright bursts of light that might be powered by their strong magnetic fields. (ESA)

This illustration shows magnetic field lines protruding from a highly magnetic neutron star, or a dense nugget left over after a star goes supernova and explodes. Known as magnetars, these objects generate bright bursts of light that might be powered by their strong magnetic fields. (ESA)

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NASA Explains Why Clouds Form Near Black Holes

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA says once you leave the majestic skies of Earth, the word “cloud” no longer means a white fluffy-looking structure that produces rain. Instead, clouds in the greater universe are clumpy areas of greater density than their surroundings.

Space telescopes have observed these cosmic clouds in the vicinity of supermassive black holes, those mysterious dense objects from which no light can escape, with masses equivalent to more than 100,000 Suns.

This illustration depicts a quasar, a type of active galactic nucleus, surrounded by a dusty donut shape (torus) and clumps called “clouds.” These clouds start small but can expand to be more than 1 parsec (3.3 light-years) wide. In this diagram, the clouds are at least 1 parsec from the torus. (Illustration by Nima Abkenar)

This illustration depicts a quasar, a type of active galactic nucleus, surrounded by a dusty donut shape (torus) and clumps called “clouds.” These clouds start small but can expand to be more than 1 parsec (3.3 light-years) wide. In this diagram, the clouds are at least 1 parsec from the torus. (Illustration by Nima Abkenar)

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NASA’s WFRIST telescope to search for Exoplanets using Microlensing

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA’s Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) will search for planets outside our solar system toward the center of our Milky Way galaxy, where most stars are. Studying the properties of exoplanet worlds will help us understand what planetary systems throughout the galaxy are like and how planets form and evolve.

Combining WFIRST’s findings with results from NASA’s Kepler and Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) missions will complete the first planet census that is sensitive to a wide range of planet masses and orbits, bringing us a step closer to discovering habitable Earth-like worlds beyond our own.

NASA's WFIRST will make its microlensing observations in the direction of the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The higher density of stars will yield more exoplanet detections. (NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab)

NASA’s WFIRST will make its microlensing observations in the direction of the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The higher density of stars will yield more exoplanet detections. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab)

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope uses new technique to find Small Clumps of Dark Matter

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and a new observing technique, astronomers have found that dark matter forms much smaller clumps than previously known. This result confirms one of the fundamental predictions of the widely accepted “cold dark matter” theory.

All galaxies, according to this theory, form and are embedded within clouds of dark matter. Dark matter itself consists of slow-moving, or “cold,” particles that come together to form structures ranging from hundreds of thousands of times the mass of the Milky Way galaxy to clumps no more massive than the heft of a commercial airplane. (In this context, “cold” refers to the particles’ speed.)

Each snapshot shows four distorted images of a background quasar (an extremely bright region in the center of some distant galaxies), surrounding the core of a massive foreground galaxy. The gravity of the foreground galaxy magnifies the quasar, an effect called gravitational lensing. (NASA, ESA, A. Nierenberg, T. Treu)

Each snapshot shows four distorted images of a background quasar (an extremely bright region in the center of some distant galaxies), surrounding the core of a massive foreground galaxy. The gravity of the foreground galaxy magnifies the quasar, an effect called gravitational lensing. (NASA, ESA, A. Nierenberg, T. Treu)

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Austin Peay State University’s “Science on Tap” discusses “The Snake that Ate Guam”, December 3rd

 

Austin Peay State University - APSUClarksville, TN – On Guam, a strange silence hangs over the Pacific island’s dense jungles. Birds don’t sing or call out to mates. They don’t flutter from branch to branch or shout at potential predators.

The jungles are eerily quiet because, more than half a century after an innocent looking tree snake arrived on Guam, the serpent devoured nearly all the island’s birds.

Austin Peay State University’s "Science on Tap" returns to Strawberry Alley Ale works, December 3rd. (APSU)

Austin Peay State University’s “Science on Tap” returns to Strawberry Alley Ale works, December 3rd. (APSU)

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NASA explains how LISA Pathfinder Detected Dozens of ‘Comet Crumbs’

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA says LISA Pathfinder, a mission led by ESA (the European Space Agency) that included NASA contributions, successfully demonstrated technologies needed to build a future space-based gravitational wave observatory, a tool for detecting ripples in space-time produced by, among other things, merging black holes.

A team of NASA scientists leveraged LISA Pathfinder’s record-setting sensitivity for a different purpose much closer to home — mapping microscopic dust shed by comets and asteroids.

European Space Agency's LISA Pathfinder. (ESA)

European Space Agency’s LISA Pathfinder. (ESA)

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NASA Space Telescopes discover Three Black Holes on Collision Course

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says astronomers have spotted three giant black holes within a titanic collision of three galaxies. The unusual system was captured by several observatories, including three NASA space telescopes.

“We were only looking for pairs of black holes at the time, and yet, through our selection technique, we stumbled upon this amazing system,” said Ryan Pfeifle of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, the first author of a new paper in The Astrophysical Journal describing these results. “This is the strongest evidence yet found for such a triple system of actively feeding supermassive black holes.”

X-ray. (NASA/CXC/George Mason Univ./R. Pfeifle et al.; Optical: SDSS & NASA/STScI)

X-ray. (NASA/CXC/George Mason Univ./R. Pfeifle et al.; Optical: SDSS & NASA/STScI)

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Austin Peay State University’s Science on Tap fills Strawberry Alley Ale Works’ Pilsner Room

 

Written by Kyle Watts

Austin Peay State University - APSUClarksville, TN – On Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019, Austin Peay State University (APSU) kicked off its inaugural Science on Tap – a monthly lecture series that unites two great things, science and local brews – at Strawberry Alley Ale Works.

Austin Peay State University’s Dr. J. Allyn Smith talks black holes at the inaugural Science on Tap Sept. 3, 2019, at Strawberry Alley Ale Works. (APSU)

Austin Peay State University’s Dr. J. Allyn Smith talks black holes at the inaugural Science on Tap Sept. 3, 2019, at Strawberry Alley Ale Works. (APSU)

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This Week at APSU: Football at home, Science on Tap, new Google partnership

 

Austin Peay State University - APSUClarksville, TN – The second week of fall classes also brings several top-notch events to Austin Peay State University (APSU) including the second home football game of the season, the launch of Science on Tap at Strawberry Alley Ale Works and an innovative partnership between APSU and Google at this weekend’s Riverfest.

The Austin Peay Govs host Central Arkansas at 2:00pm Saturday, September 7th, at Fortera Stadium. (APSU)

The Austin Peay Govs host Central Arkansas at 2:00pm Saturday, September 7th, at Fortera Stadium. (APSU)

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