When black holes collide, the ensuing cosmic drama was assumed to play out under the cloak of darkness, given that both objects are invisible. But now astronomers believe they have made the first optical observations of such a merger, marked by a blaze of light a trillion times brighter than the sun.
Object found in HR 6819 system is the closest to Earth yet known – and is unusually dark
Detailed image taken by Event Horizon Telescope of black hole 5bn light years away
Galaxy clusters are among the largest structures in the universe, containing thousands of individual galaxies, dark matter and hot gas. At the heart of the Ophiuchus cluster there is a large galaxy that contains a supermassive black hole with a mass equivalent to 10 millions suns.
He was one of the greatest scientists the world has ever known, yet if I had to convey the essence of Albert Einstein in a single word, I would choose simplicity. Perhaps an anecdote will help. Once, caught in a downpour, he took off his hat and held it under his coat. Asked why, he explained, with admirable logic, that the rain would damage the hat, but his hair would be none the worse for its wetting. This knack for going instinctively to the heart of a matter was the secret of his major scientific discoveries- this and his extraordinary feeling for beauty.
Objects raise hopes of scientists managing to track ‘blobs’ being swallowed by black hole
A number of bizarre shape-shifting objects have been discovered close to the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way.
The blobs are thought to be giant stars that spend part of their orbits so close to the black hole that they get stretched out like bubble gum before returning to a compact, roughly spherical form.
Scientists say Milky Way’s Sagittarius A* has been more active in recent months. Unseeable and inescapable, black holes already rank among the more sinister phenomena out in the cosmos. So it may come as disconcerting news that the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way appears to be growing hungrier.
A public lecture and interactive webcast by Amanda Peet