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Star-Eating Black Hole May Be Producing Universe's Biggest Blast
ScienceNOW ^ | 7 April 2011 | Yudhijit Bhattacharjee

Posted on 04/10/2011 8:07:18 PM PDT by neverdem

Enlarge Image
sn-galaxy.jpg
Breathing fire. A distant cosmic explosion detected 28 March (left) continues to put out a series of high-energy flares (right). Astronomers believe it's a star being consumed by a black hole 3.8 billion light-years away.
Credit: (left, galaxy) ASA/Swift/Stefan Immler; (right, diagram) NASA/Swift/Penn State/J. Kennea

Astronomers have observed possibly the biggest blast ever seen in the cosmos. When NASA's SWIFT space observatory first spotted it 10 days ago, observers thought it was a massive star blowing up as a supernova and expected it to fade within hours or even minutes. But the high-energy radiation from the source has shown no sign of dying down, which suggests that astronomers may have caught a star in the process of being ripped to shreds by a black hole.

The blast is actually a series of bursts, like a string of firecrackers going off one after another. "We know of objects in our own galaxy that can produce repeated bursts, but they are thousands to millions of times less powerful than the bursts we are seeing," says Andrew Fruchter of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. "This is truly extraordinary."

SWIFT's Burst Alert Telescope detected the source of the bursts on 28 March. The Hubble Space Telescope took an image of the source on 4 April, which located the explosions at the center of a galaxy 3.8 billion light-years away. On the same day, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory took a picture of the source by pointing at it for 4 hours. That image also showed that the source of the bursts was at the center of the galaxy imaged by Hubble.

The position of the source within the galaxy offered a clue that the bursts might be associated with a black hole, as nearly all galaxies have a black hole in the middle. "We think that there is a dormant black hole there that has accreted a lump of matter—probably a star that has fallen into it," says astrophysicist Neil Gehrels, the lead scientist for SWIFT at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

What could be going on is the following: A star flitting too close to the black hole has been grabbed by its gravitational pull. The star's gas has been falling into the black hole, causing enormous amounts of energy to be released in the form of high-energy particles shooting out like a jet.

Although this is not the first time astronomers have witnessed a star being gobbled up by a black hole, the bursts are putting out energy far greater than previously seen. One reason for the extreme brightness could be that the jet of particles shooting out of the black hole is pointing straight at Earth.

Astronomers all over the world are working round the clock to collect more data on the event, and Hubble is snapping more images of the source. "Some spectra have been taken; there's a lot more work to be done on how the spectrum changes over time," Gehrels says. "If it really is a star being torn up, then we'd expect it to fade away in the next few days. If it stays bright for several weeks or a month, that would tell us something different. I'm not sure what that would be."


TOPICS: Extended News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: blackhole; catastrophism; haltonarp; hubble; nasa; stringtheory; swift; xplanets
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1 posted on 04/10/2011 8:07:21 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

The Kraken is being released!


2 posted on 04/10/2011 8:09:50 PM PDT by VideoDoctor
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To: VideoDoctor

Always mind-boggling to contemplate that what we’re seeing today actually happened five billion years ago, before the earth was even formed.


3 posted on 04/10/2011 8:15:04 PM PDT by Spartan79 ("We are not to expect to be translated from despotism to liberty in a feather-bed." ~ Ths. Jefferson)
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To: neverdem
Astronomers have observed possibly the biggest blast ever seen in the cosmos.

Bush's Fault (trademark, DNC)...

4 posted on 04/10/2011 8:22:42 PM PDT by NorCoGOP (Obama's approval ratings: so low that Kenyans now accuse him of being born in the USA)
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To: neverdem

We are in so much trouble when that blast hits us.


5 posted on 04/10/2011 8:22:53 PM PDT by lurk
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To: VideoDoctor
Maybe one of those "brane" bangers ~ eventually everything in the vicinity boils off leaving a hole in the universe.

We've already got a couple of those in sight.

6 posted on 04/10/2011 8:23:28 PM PDT by muawiyah (Make America Safe For Amercans)
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To: neverdem

>>If it stays bright for several weeks or a month, that would tell us something different. I’m not sure what that would be.”<<

I love it when someone comes out and says, “We don’t know everything about what’s happening out in space”.


7 posted on 04/10/2011 8:25:34 PM PDT by B4Ranch (Allowing Islam into America is akin to injecting yourself with AIDS to prove how tolerant you are .)
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To: neverdem

In real life, there is no such thing as a black hole, much less a “star-eating black hole(TM)”. This is almost certainly yet another artifact of mistakenly interpreting redshift as distance.


8 posted on 04/10/2011 8:26:28 PM PDT by wendy1946
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To: neverdem

Hah. If we could just aim it!


9 posted on 04/10/2011 8:26:32 PM PDT by Hardraade (I want gigaton warheads now!!)
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To: wendy1946

How do you figure?


10 posted on 04/10/2011 8:30:41 PM PDT by TheZMan (Just secede and get it over with. No love lost on either side. Cya.)
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To: neverdem
Astronomers have observed possibly the biggest blast ever seen in the cosmos.

Otherwise known as "climate change we can believe in".

.

11 posted on 04/10/2011 8:30:59 PM PDT by Seaplaner (Never give in. Never give in. Never...except to convictions of honour and good sense. W. Churchill)
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To: neverdem

It would be nice if they included in which constellation this event happened. Then us naked-eye observers could cast our glace in the general direction of the event.


12 posted on 04/10/2011 8:34:52 PM PDT by Zuben Elgenubi
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To: neverdem
>I>Universe's Biggest Blast

"And so tonight I'm gonna party like it's 13,749,999,999"

13 posted on 04/10/2011 8:35:28 PM PDT by P.O.E. (Pray for America)
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To: neverdem

Its Bush’s fault.


14 posted on 04/10/2011 8:40:05 PM PDT by garjog
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To: neverdem

Too far away for us to really worry about.

Betelgeuse on the other hand is only some 600 light years away, and by the time we see the first flash from it going Supernova it could well be too late to worry about.

The pisser is that it could have gone supernova 600 years ago, and the first flash could be here any second.....


15 posted on 04/10/2011 8:41:50 PM PDT by Bean Counter (Stout Hearts!!)
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To: TheZMan

Well, DUH! there are no black holes in The Bible.


16 posted on 04/10/2011 8:50:40 PM PDT by null and void (We are now in day 808 of our national holiday from reality. - That 3 AM phone call? Voicemail...)
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To: TheZMan
Try this for starters...
17 posted on 04/10/2011 8:55:16 PM PDT by wendy1946
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To: neverdem
If it stays bright for several weeks or a month, that would tell us something different. I'm not sure what that would be."

That's the part I'm pulling for.

18 posted on 04/10/2011 9:04:20 PM PDT by The Cajun (Palin, Bachmann, Free Republic, Mark Levin, Rush, Hannity......Nuff said.)
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To: wendy1946
I'll admit a point singularity of infinite density where the laws of physics do not apply has always bothered me, so has inflation theory and the *not to be talked about* photos Harlton Arp took before being denied telescope time.
19 posted on 04/10/2011 9:22:41 PM PDT by The Cajun (Palin, Bachmann, Free Republic, Mark Levin, Rush, Hannity......Nuff said.)
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To: neverdem
Star-Eating Black Hole May Be Producing Universe's Biggest Blast

Cool beans. Can we name it "Ishtar?"

20 posted on 04/10/2011 9:25:21 PM PDT by Interesting Times (WinterSoldier.com. SwiftVets.com. ToSetTheRecordStraight.com.)
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To: lurk

Oh goody - I was going to send out next month’s mortgage payment tomorrow.

Maybe I’ll wait a few weeks!


21 posted on 04/10/2011 9:25:50 PM PDT by Noob1999 (Loose lips sink ships!)
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To: lurk

Oh goody - I was going to send out next month’s mortgage payment tomorrow.

Maybe I’ll wait a few weeks!


22 posted on 04/10/2011 9:26:01 PM PDT by Noob1999 (Loose lips sink ships!)
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To: neverdem
If it eats stars, let's harness it and turn it loose on Hollyweird. Start movie stars, then move on to rap stars...

Scouts Out! Cavalry Ho!

23 posted on 04/10/2011 9:31:07 PM PDT by wku man (Who says conservatives don't rock? www.myspace.com/10poundtest)
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To: neverdem

Somehow, this sounds vaguely racist... better have the bamster’s DOJ check it out.


24 posted on 04/10/2011 9:35:23 PM PDT by 43north (BHO: 50% black, 50% white, 100% RED)
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To: Bean Counter

by the time we see the first flash from it going Supernova it could well be too late to worry about.

The pisser is that it could have gone supernova 600 years ago, and the first flash could be here any second.....

Don’t you think Orion would have sent a flaming arrow with amessage?


25 posted on 04/10/2011 10:09:19 PM PDT by munin (Enki did it,)
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To: El Gato; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Robert A. Cook, PE; lepton; LadyDoc; jb6; tiamat; PGalt; Dianna; ...
Bones of Leper Warrior Found in Medieval Cemetery (Italy, 500-700 AD)

Roberto Bolli discusses cardiac stem cell treatment for heart failure at Cannon Lecture

The Key to a Long Life: Conscientious Habits

Molecular fridge can reach millikelvin

FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.

26 posted on 04/10/2011 10:13:10 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: neverdem

One reason for the extreme brightness could be that the jet of particles shooting out of the black hole is pointing straight at Earth.

Oh, that sounds groovy, wonder what’s comes next?


27 posted on 04/10/2011 10:13:35 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: Zuben Elgenubi

Naked eye observers?
When the scientists tell you to look at it through
a half inch steel plate, you know it’s not going
to be good.


28 posted on 04/10/2011 10:15:40 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: wendy1946

In real life, there is no such thing as a black hole, much less a “star-eating black hole

What a bright gal you are, I think black holes are areas where stuff are traveling faster than the speed og light, thereby rendering everything invisible to us, alas black hole. Got this idea some years ago when they started talking about black holes, but no one knew what they were,
I think not much has changed


29 posted on 04/10/2011 10:18:10 PM PDT by munin (Enki did it,)
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>> and Hubble is snapping more images of the source.

Hubble bump.


30 posted on 04/10/2011 10:23:04 PM PDT by Gene Eric (*** Jesus ***)
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To: wendy1946

>> This is almost certainly yet another artifact of mistakenly interpreting redshift as distance.

That reminds me of Einstein’s reference to observations of uniform spectral luminance of eclipsing objects supporting the constancy of light. I’m vague on the specifics, and need to revisit Relativity.


31 posted on 04/10/2011 10:34:31 PM PDT by Gene Eric (*** Jesus ***)
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To: wendy1946
"This is almost certainly yet another artifact of mistakenly interpreting redshift as distance."

OK, Dr. Smarter-than Hubble1946 -- please share your calculations with us!

But don't waste our time with citing some Irish numbskull who died in 1656...

32 posted on 04/10/2011 10:44:54 PM PDT by TXnMA ("Allah": Satan's current alias...)
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To: null and void
"Well, DUH! there are no black holes in The Bible."

There are no galaxies in the Bible, either. But, if there were, how many could Moses have seen?

And if he saw any, could he have recognized what they were?

33 posted on 04/10/2011 10:59:18 PM PDT by TXnMA ("Allah": Satan's current alias...)
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To: The Cajun
… the *not to be talked about* photos Halton Arp took before being denied telescope time.

Care to expound? Something that postdates Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies?

34 posted on 04/10/2011 11:41:06 PM PDT by kitchen (Over-gunned is better than the alternative. - E. Keith)
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To: B4Ranch
"Something's happening here.
What it is ain't exactly clear."
35 posted on 04/11/2011 12:28:21 AM PDT by Enterprise ("Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." Voltaire)
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To: TXnMA
And if he saw any, could he have recognized what they were?

And if you were an illuminated intelligence (and not even necessarily the Ontos-On) and wanted to explain cosmogony and cosmology to him, how would you go about it, in a way that his descendants wouldn't falsify later?

36 posted on 04/11/2011 1:52:13 AM PDT by lentulusgracchus (Concealed carry is a pro-life position.)
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To: B4Ranch; neverdem
>>"If it stays bright for several weeks or a month, that would tell us something different. I’m not sure what that would be.”<<

A tightly-packed cluster of white-dwarf stars falling into a black hole?

A really big star and accretion disk falling in?

37 posted on 04/11/2011 1:57:12 AM PDT by lentulusgracchus (Concealed carry is a pro-life position.)
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To: lentulusgracchus

>>”If it stays bright for several weeks or a month, that would tell us something different. I’m not sure what that would be.”<<

A tightly-packed cluster of white-dwarf stars falling into a black hole?

A really big star and accretion disk falling in?

A large scale, localized, building project by the Pan-Galactic Builders Association?


38 posted on 04/11/2011 3:14:07 AM PDT by PIF (They came for me and mine ... now it is your turn ...)
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To: kitchen
I was talking about the fact that Arp discovered a few highly red shifted quasars were interacting (visible mass interaction due to gravity) with much nearer galaxies. There would have to be billions of light years of distance involved according to redshift which would make that interaction impossible.
I also read an article not so long ago (can't remember where) that a highly red shifted quasar was found to apparently be embedded in a much nearer galaxy (don't know if Arp was involved in this discovery or not).
Very, very far from an expert on the subject of redshift, but find it interesting. Arp's photos seem to show there are problems with redshift distance calculations, but the accuracy of redshift measurements seem to be confirmed by using another method (brilliance of type 2 supernovas in distant galaxies).
Something *ain't* right.
Also find the fact that Arp is shunned by the mainstream astronomical community interesting (he also questions parts of the Big Bang theory).
39 posted on 04/11/2011 3:17:12 AM PDT by The Cajun (Palin, Bachmann, Free Republic, Mark Levin, Rush, Hannity......Nuff said.)
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To: wendy1946
*** In real life, there is no such thing as a black hole, much less a “star-eating black hole(TM)” ***

ps: I read your about page -- and with all due respect ... ((((( cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo )))))

40 posted on 04/11/2011 4:20:00 AM PDT by Condor51 (The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits [A.Einstein])
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To: wendy1946

I love the Bio on that page.


41 posted on 04/11/2011 4:32:56 AM PDT by tacticalogic
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To: neverdem
Fascinating...


42 posted on 04/11/2011 6:16:35 AM PDT by CarryaBigStick (My office is an Airtractor 402)
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To: tet68
Naked eye observers?
When the scientists tell you to look at it through
a half inch steel plate, you know it’s not going
to be good.

That would be a GREAT tagline!

43 posted on 04/11/2011 8:41:24 AM PDT by null and void (We are now in day 809 of our national holiday from reality. - That 3 AM phone call? Voicemail...)
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To: TXnMA

America isn’t in The Bible.

Therefore we do not exist.

Q.E.D.


44 posted on 04/11/2011 8:43:54 AM PDT by null and void (We are now in day 809 of our national holiday from reality. - That 3 AM phone call? Voicemail...)
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To: 43north
Somehow, this sounds vaguely racist...

The ONLY REASON that the thought of racism comes to mind when discussing COSMOLOGY is due to one thing. Barack (Steve, Barry) Obama.

45 posted on 04/11/2011 9:09:51 AM PDT by UCANSEE2
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To: wendy1946
In real life, there is no such thing as a black hole

Well.... actually there is such a thing as a black hole, and we can actually see it (them). They are called sunspots (currently).

The current so called 'black holes' are not black holes at all. They are a misunderstanding of the Universe as based on Gravity rather than on Electricity. No scientist yet has been able to explain the Universe based on Gravity, without having to make up stuff like black holes , dark matter and dark energy to explain why the DATA on mass vs. gravity DO NOT WORK.

46 posted on 04/11/2011 9:17:42 AM PDT by UCANSEE2
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To: lentulusgracchus; B4Ranch; neverdem

When things fall into a black hole, do they fall in from the TOP ?

If you could go to the opposite side of where things were falling in, what would you see?


47 posted on 04/11/2011 9:21:43 AM PDT by UCANSEE2
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To: UCANSEE2

I could buy all of that other than the thing about sunspots, unless you’re merely using the term ‘black hole’ in a visual sense. I’d assumed sunspots were plasma-physics dead spots of some sort.


48 posted on 04/11/2011 9:37:06 AM PDT by wendy1946
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To: UCANSEE2

I will add your question to the looooooong list that I have been gathering to ask the first cooperative alien I meet.


49 posted on 04/11/2011 10:07:30 AM PDT by B4Ranch (Allowing Islam into America is akin to injecting yourself with AIDS to prove how tolerant you are .)
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To: wendy1946

I like the DORMANT BH lable!


50 posted on 04/11/2011 1:02:31 PM PDT by Elsie
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