Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Another Big Hole

Just 2 weeks ago a Black Hole was discovered in galaxy M33 with 16 times the mass of the Sun. Like the video, object M33 X-7 orbits a companion star in a violent dance. The star passes between the BH and Earth every 3 days, eclipsing the former's X-ray emissions. This was the first known binary system where that occured, allowing astronomers a rare chance to measure mass. This discovery is in the October 17 issue of NATURE.

Previously it was thought that stellar mass Black Holes could weigh no more than 10 solar masses. In the November 1 issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters, scientists announce discovery of a Black Hole of at least 24 solar masses! Object IC10 X-1 was first noticed by the Chandra X-ray observatory in November '006. Follow-up observations were made by the Swift spacecraft and our Gemini North telescope on Mauna Kea. Further measurements are likely to increase the mass estimate. Since we can only measure masses of Black Holes that are eclipsed by stars, there could be many more massive ones out there. article

To answer a question from yesterday, Chandra has also found X-rays nearby in Saturn's Rings. A picture was shown this blog way back on June 2006. No, not Chiang Kai Shek's memorial, the photo at the bottom. The Rings are full of X-ray sources! Perhaps someone should look for BH's in this neighbourhood.

Human theory says that Black Holes can only grow to a certain size because the speed of light has always been the same, but the Black Holes don't know that. Bad, bad Black Holes! What business do they have conflicting with theories? Someone should have made sure they never have anything to do with physics!

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