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Most Powerful Eruption in the Universe Discovered
NASA website ^ | January 5, 2005 | Dolores Beasley, Steve Roy, Megan Watzke

Posted on 01/06/2005 11:27:25 AM PST by snarks_when_bored

Most Powerful Eruption in the Universe Discovered


Astronomers have found the most powerful eruption in the universe using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. A super massive black hole generated this eruption by growing at a remarkable rate. This discovery shows the enormous appetite of large black holes, and the profound impact they have on their surroundings.

The huge eruption was seen in a Chandra image of the hot, X-ray emitting gas of a galaxy cluster called MS 0735.6+7421. Two vast cavities extend away from the super massive black hole in the cluster's central galaxy. The eruption, which has lasted for more than 100 million years, has generated energy equivalent to hundreds of millions of gamma-ray bursts.

This event was caused by gravitational energy release, as enormous amounts of matter fell toward a black hole. Most of the matter was swallowed, but some of it was violently ejected before being captured by the black hole. "I was stunned to find that a mass of about 300 million suns was swallowed," said Brian McNamara of Ohio University in Athens. "This is as large as another super massive black hole." He is lead author of the study about the discovery, which is in the January 6, 2005, issue of Nature.

Astronomers are not sure where such large amounts of matter came from. One theory is gas from the host galaxy catastrophically cooled and was swallowed by the black hole. The energy released shows the black hole in MS 0735 has grown dramatically during this eruption. Previous studies suggest other large black holes have grown very little in the recent past, and that only smaller black holes are still growing quickly.

"This new result is as surprising as it is exciting," said co-author Paul Nulsen of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Mass. "This black hole is feasting, when it should be fasting."

Radio emission within the cavities shows jets from the black hole erupted to create the cavities. Gas is being pushed away from the black hole at supersonic speeds over a distance of about a million light-years. The mass of the displaced gas equals about a trillion suns, more than the mass of all the stars in the Milky Way.

The rapid growth of super massive black holes is usually detected by observing very bright radiation from the centers of galaxies in the optical and X-ray wavebands, or luminous radio jets. In MS 0735 no bright central radiation is found, and the radio jets are faint. The true nature of MS 0735 is only revealed through X-ray observations of the hot cluster gas.

"Until now we had no idea this black hole was gorging itself," said co-author Michael Wise of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass. "The discovery of this eruption shows X-ray telescopes are necessary to understand some of the most violent events in the universe."

The astronomers estimated how much energy was needed to create the cavities by calculating the density, temperature and pressure of the hot gas. By making a standard assumption that 10 percent of the gravitational energy goes into launching the jets, they estimated how much material the black hole swallowed.

Besides generating the cavities, some of the energy from this eruption should keep the hot gas around the black hole from cooling, and some of it may also generate large-scale magnetic fields in the galaxy cluster. Chandra observers have discovered other cavities in galaxy clusters, but this one is easily the largest and the most powerful.

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for NASA's Space Mission Directorate, Washington. Northrop Grumman of Redondo Beach, Calif., was the prime development contractor for the observatory. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls science and flight operations from the Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge, Mass.


Dolores Beasley
NASA Headquarters, Washington

Steve Roy
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.

Megan Watzke
Chandra X-ray Observatory Center, Cambridge, Mass.



TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: chandraobservatory; haltonarp; junkscience; massiveblackhole; stringtheory
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Sometimes it's good to be reminded of our puniness. The quantities of time, mass and distance mentioned in this article beggar the imagination. Here are the 'money quotes':


The eruption, which has lasted for more than 100 million years, has generated energy equivalent to hundreds of millions of gamma-ray bursts.

* * * * * * *

"I was stunned to find that a mass of about 300 million suns was swallowed," said Brian McNamara of Ohio University in Athens. "This is as large as another super massive black hole."

* * * * * * *

Gas is being pushed away from the black hole at supersonic speeds over a distance of about a million light-years. The mass of the displaced gas equals about a trillion suns, more than the mass of all the stars in the Milky Way.


Shakespeare could not have conceived that such objects might exist when he allowed his Hamlet to utter these famous lines:

There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

The super-massive black hole described in this article is beyond Horatio's (and Shakespeare's) wildest possible dream, but, for us, it's wide-awake reality.

1 posted on 01/06/2005 11:27:27 AM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: RadioAstronomer; PatrickHenry

Ping


2 posted on 01/06/2005 11:27:59 AM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: snarks_when_bored

I still say it is Bush's fault...


3 posted on 01/06/2005 11:28:56 AM PST by 2banana (They want to die for Islam and we want to kill them)
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To: snarks_when_bored
Most Powerful Eruption in the Universe Discovered

OK, who fed Michael Moore the baked beans?

4 posted on 01/06/2005 11:29:06 AM PST by RebelBanker (To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!)
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To: 2banana
Naw, it's the Israelis again.
5 posted on 01/06/2005 11:30:06 AM PST by skip_intro
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To: snarks_when_bored
And here it is:


6 posted on 01/06/2005 11:30:54 AM PST by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: RebelBanker

Most Powerful Eruption in the Universe Discovered

OK, who fed Michael Moore the baked beans?


You beat me to it. I was going to say taco bell, though.


7 posted on 01/06/2005 11:31:54 AM PST by timtoews5292004
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To: snarks_when_bored

The UN is forming a team to provide aid as we speak. This eruption is a result of global warming on Earth. And it's Bush's fault.
Oh, and the Western Nations are being stingy.


8 posted on 01/06/2005 11:31:55 AM PST by wolfpat
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To: MineralMan

Thanks. I was too busy with the post (and some work) to do a search. Should have.


9 posted on 01/06/2005 11:31:56 AM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: snarks_when_bored

I thought black holes swallowed everything, including energy and gas. So how is it that this black hole is responsible for an explosion with gas streaming away from it, and with so much gamma radiation?


10 posted on 01/06/2005 11:32:54 AM PST by razoroccam (Then in the name of Allah, they will let loose the Germs of War (http://www.booksurge.com))
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To: snarks_when_bored
The Most Powerful Eruption in the Universe ?

Let me guess.....

Michael Moore's Flatulence !!!!

11 posted on 01/06/2005 11:35:04 AM PST by Robe (Rome did not create a great empire by talking, they did it by killing all those who opposed them)
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To: razoroccam

It's swallowed around 300 million stars. But there are terrifically powerful, swirling magnetic field lines surrounding black holes, lines which channel highly energized gas around and away from the holes.


12 posted on 01/06/2005 11:35:10 AM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: snarks_when_bored
Was this eruption greater than those that occurred at the Clinton White House?
13 posted on 01/06/2005 11:35:44 AM PST by DOGEY
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To: snarks_when_bored

No problem. Some posters also don't know how to post images, so I try to grab 'em when that occurs. It's a cool photo, though. The universe is a pretty amazing place, eh?


14 posted on 01/06/2005 11:35:57 AM PST by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: snarks_when_bored

How far away is this from us? Follow up questions. When did it happen? Is it still goin on?


15 posted on 01/06/2005 11:35:57 AM PST by FreePaul
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To: Spiff

Ping


16 posted on 01/06/2005 11:36:32 AM PST by AZBear (Old M1A1 Tanker)
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To: snarks_when_bored
Michael "El Cerdo" Moore ate a wafer thin mint?
17 posted on 01/06/2005 11:36:37 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: RebelBanker

Michael Moore is in his own universe.


18 posted on 01/06/2005 11:36:37 AM PST by Blowtorch
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To: snarks_when_bored
Oh,

I thought this was another Barbara Boxer thread.

She makes me so proud to be a Californian </sarcasm>

Seriously, this in interesting. I'll check it out when I have more time.

19 posted on 01/06/2005 11:36:48 AM PST by UlmoLordOfWaters
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To: snarks_when_bored

I am just curious here, and I am certainly not a physicist or an astronomer, but based on the very watered down suggestions of string theory... that our entire universe is on a membrane and that all we percieve is tied to that same membrane... and that Gravity is a force that is for whatever NOT tied to this membrane, and therefore is a relatively weak force in our experience compared to other forces....

Could black holes be nothing more than what may be nothing but a relatively small amount of gravitons that have for one reason or another gotten "stuck" to the membrane, or some cascading effect that causes gravitons to become stuck, exponentially increasing their influence ?

I would assume that these possibilities have been thought of by someone far more versed and smarter than I, but I am curious.


20 posted on 01/06/2005 11:37:12 AM PST by HamiltonJay
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To: snarks_when_bored

It's Bush's fault!


21 posted on 01/06/2005 11:37:16 AM PST by beethovenfan
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To: snarks_when_bored
"Gas is being pushed away from the black hole at supersonic speeds over a distance of about a million light-years."

What's the speed of sound in a vacuum?

22 posted on 01/06/2005 11:40:18 AM PST by avg_freeper (Gunga galunga. Gunga, gunga galunga)
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To: HamiltonJay

I thought that the string theory had been discredited.


23 posted on 01/06/2005 11:40:34 AM PST by razoroccam (Then in the name of Allah, they will let loose the Germs of War (http://www.booksurge.com))
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To: FreePaul
How far away is this from us? Follow up questions. When did it happen? Is it still goin on?

About 2.6 billion light years away. So we're seeing it as it was 2.6 billion years ago. From out standpoint, it's still going on, but we're observing it as it was then. I suspect it's still there, but we'd have to guess what it looks like at this instant.

A link to the Chandra website.

24 posted on 01/06/2005 11:41:15 AM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: snarks_when_bored
I thought this was the largest (bimbo) eruption:

25 posted on 01/06/2005 11:42:42 AM PST by mcg1969
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To: snarks_when_bored

Interesting.


26 posted on 01/06/2005 11:46:17 AM PST by ELS
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To: avg_freeper
What's the speed of sound in a vacuum?

Sound doesn't propagate in a vacuum. By 'supersonic' in this context, I assume that it means faster than the speed of pressure waves propagating through the gaseous medium surrounding the black hole. Just as objects in our atmosphere can move faster than the sound they generate, so too can gas molecules exceed the speed of the pressure waves generated as they're pushed by the black hole's gravitational and magnetic slingshot effects.

(I'm not a physicist, but I play one on FR.)

27 posted on 01/06/2005 11:48:52 AM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: avg_freeper
Nice catch.

L

28 posted on 01/06/2005 11:51:07 AM PST by Lurker ("I answer to you, 'F*** you-I shall die on my feet.!" Oriana Fallaci.)
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To: HamiltonJay

I'm familiar with the string theory conjectures to which you refer, but I can't say whether your further conjecture has merit. I don't know enough to even guess.


29 posted on 01/06/2005 11:52:17 AM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: razoroccam
I thought black holes swallowed everything, including energy and gas. So how is it that this black hole is responsible for an explosion with gas streaming away from it, and with so much gamma radiation?

Read "The Elegant Universe", black holes actually are capable of emissions.

See: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5473323/

DUBLIN, Ireland - After 29 years of thinking about it, Stephen Hawking says he was wrong about black holes.

The renowned Cambridge University physicist formally presented a paper Wednesday arguing that black holes, the celestial vortexes formed from collapsed stars, preserve traces of objects swallowed up and eventually could spit bits out “in a mangled form.” Last week, in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corp., he revealed he had changed his long-held thinking on black holes.

Hawking’s radical new theory caps his three-decade struggle to explain a paradox in scientific thinking: How can objects really “disappear” inside a black hole and leave no trace, as he long believed, when subatomic theory says matter can be transformed but never fully destroyed?

Hawking had previously insisted that black holes destroy all molecular fingerprints of their contents and emit only a generic form of radiation.

But on Wednesday at the 17th International Conference on General Relativity and Gravitation, Hawking presented mind-boggling new calculations that suggest black holes are able to cast out their contents — and that there’s only one way in and one way out.

30 posted on 01/06/2005 11:55:02 AM PST by 1LongTimeLurker
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To: MineralMan

You've got that right!


31 posted on 01/06/2005 11:55:32 AM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: snarks_when_bored
Chandra X-ray Observatory. A super massive black hole generated this eruption by growing at a remarkable rate.

Can we stop talking about Gary Condit?

32 posted on 01/06/2005 11:57:29 AM PST by Koblenz (Holland: a very tolerant country. Until someone shoots you on a public street in broad daylight...)
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To: snarks_when_bored

What, did Michael Moore break wind????


33 posted on 01/06/2005 12:00:24 PM PST by SeamusVA
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To: snarks_when_bored

Yes, me either, since I know very little... it just seems to me that if the base concept is, we are on a membrane, and all (nearly all) of what we percieve is tied to that membrane, but Gravitons (gravity) for whatever reason is free to leave the membrane, and in further theory perhaps encounter other membranes which may or may not bind them...

Our universe (membrane) would have gravitons leaving or flowing throught it potentially all the time with narry a notice or care.

But say something happened, and for some reason a point on the membrane suddenly changed in some way, causing gravitons not to so easily float away, but to become stuck, like say, plaque in an artery... then a singular stuck graviton would exert more gravitational force that we normally experience.... then that same graviton or event attracted more gravitons, tying them as well to the membrane... the gravitational force would rapidly expand from that point, and would appear to us as a black hole or singularity event... and the "critical mass" point for the devastating impact on our reality when it occurred would be monsterous in its effects.


34 posted on 01/06/2005 12:00:38 PM PST by HamiltonJay
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To: snarks_when_bored
Sorry, I meant it as a rhetorical question.

The idea of "speed of sound" as presented in this article is silly. By its definition the velocity of the air coming coming out of the air vent above me could be considered supersonic once you add its velocity vector relative to me to its velocity vector relative to the sun.

Speed of sound has everything to do with the velocity of a fluid relative to a secondary mass it's capable of communicating pressure info with none of which is implied by the article.

35 posted on 01/06/2005 12:02:05 PM PST by avg_freeper (Gunga galunga. Gunga, gunga galunga)
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To: snarks_when_bored

"The Black Cloud"...reality, not the book..coming soon to a Planet near you !


36 posted on 01/06/2005 12:03:53 PM PST by PoorMuttly (Rule the Planet)
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To: HamiltonJay
Write it up! (smile)

You've probably already seen them, but I'll mention last year's February, May and September issues of Scientific American. Some excellent articles relevant to these issues.

37 posted on 01/06/2005 12:07:12 PM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: avg_freeper

Maybe my little improvised explanation is close to being right. But maybe the authors meant something more mundane, using 'supersonic' to mean what we'd expect it to mean, i.e., 'faster than the speed of sound in Earth's atmosphere'.


38 posted on 01/06/2005 12:09:28 PM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: snarks_when_bored

Oh, whew, I misread the title. I though it said "erection".


39 posted on 01/06/2005 12:16:47 PM PST by snopercod (Due to the graphic nature of this tagline, viewer discretion is advised.)
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To: snarks_when_bored; All

A Redneck's reaction to this discovery: Hey Bubba, it kinda reminds me of a Big Gulp from the 7-11....that's it, we'll call this here black hol'..."BIG GULP!"


40 posted on 01/06/2005 12:17:03 PM PST by mdmathis6
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To: snarks_when_bored
"Most Powerful Eruption in the Universe Discovered"

From the title, I thought that Hillary finally had an orgasm.

41 posted on 01/06/2005 12:17:04 PM PST by mass55th ("If I were two faced, would I be wearing this one?"----Abe Lincoln (1809-1865))
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To: snarks_when_bored

"Most Powerful Eruption in the Universe Discovered"

Mikey Mooooron finally erupted, eh?


42 posted on 01/06/2005 12:17:27 PM PST by fastattacksailor (The US without the UN is like not having your mother-in-law with you on your honeymoon)
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To: snarks_when_bored

How does NASA know it's the "most" powerful in the universe?


43 posted on 01/06/2005 12:18:15 PM PST by Romulus (Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?)
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To: snarks_when_bored

Geeze, Slick's just broke a record after his surgery.


44 posted on 01/06/2005 12:19:54 PM PST by Cobra64 (Babes should wear Bullet Bras - www.BulletBras.net)
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To: snarks_when_bored

Naaaaaa, I'm not impressed.
"They" should have seen the eruption that came from my "black hole" after I failed to heed the warnings of locals and proceeded to eat off of a street vendors cart in Cartegana in 1990.


It redefined
"Biblical proportions"


45 posted on 01/06/2005 12:19:58 PM PST by taxed2death (A few billion here, a few trillion there...we're all friends right?)
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To: avg_freeper; snarks_when_bored

But that's not likely to be what they meant. Gas jets can contain particles moving at extremely high speeds (1000 km/sec or even faster). So we'd have to ask them what they meant, I guess.


46 posted on 01/06/2005 12:21:23 PM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: razoroccam

It's an endangered species! We need to expand the ESA to include the universe! We are kiling space by all the junk we send up there!


47 posted on 01/06/2005 12:22:14 PM PST by Redfeather
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To: razoroccam
I thought black holes swallowed everything, including energy and gas. So how is it that this black hole is responsible for an explosion with gas streaming away from it, and with so much gamma radiation?

Jesse works in mysterious ways.

48 posted on 01/06/2005 12:26:52 PM PST by Cobra64 (Babes should wear Bullet Bras - www.BulletBras.net)
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To: snarks_when_bored

Great post...fascinating!

When you contrast the scale of this activity..measured against the subatomic particle scale of quarks and strings...its beyond awesome.

This is the challenge for the athiest...to imagine all of this coming from.....what...on its own?


49 posted on 01/06/2005 12:28:50 PM PST by Dat Mon (will work for clever tagline)
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To: mass55th
From the title, I thought that Hillary finally had an orgasm.

I head that she had a rendezvous with Janet recently... or was it Helen?

50 posted on 01/06/2005 12:32:38 PM PST by Cobra64 (Babes should wear Bullet Bras - www.BulletBras.net)
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