Enigma: Black Holes Glow with a Hot Ring of Light


Stephen Hawkings great discovery was that the mysterious regions in space we call black holes radiate heat through quantum effects. Hawking has said that "black holes are not really black after all: they glow like a hot body, and the smaller they are, the more they glow." Hawking's famous theory says that the temperature of a black hole varies inversely to its mass. The mathematician Louis Crane proposed a scifi-like scenario back in 1994 that billions of years in the future, after all the stars have burned out, that small black holes could be created to generate heat and guarantee survival of the species.


Has Dark Matter Altered the Universe Beyond Recognition?

0158_ir In the early Universe clumps of dark matter are thought to have attracted gas, which then coalesced into stars that eventually formed the galaxies we see today. In their efforts to understand galaxy formation and evolution, astronomers have spent a good deal of time attempting to simulate the build up of dark matter.

Two astronomers based at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) have found a hint of the way dark matter behaves near black holes.

The UNAM astronomers, Dr. Xavier Hernandez and Dr. William Lee, calculated the way in which the black holes millions and billions of times the mass of the Sun found at the center of galaxies absorb dark matter.

The researchers modelled the way in which the dark matter is absorbed by black holes and found that the rate at which this happens is very sensitive to the amount of dark matter found in the black holes’ vicinity. If this concentration were larger than a critical density of seven Suns of matter spread over each cubic light year of space, the black hole mass would increase rapidly, hence engulfing such large amounts of dark matter, that soon the entire galaxy would be altered beyond recognition.


Will a New Object in Andromeda Predict Milky Way’s Fate?

Andromeda spirl galaxy

A laser-like spot of light could predict the eventual collision of the Milky Way with the Andromeda Galaxy. Loránt Sjouwerman of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Socorro, New Mexico, and colleagues have glimpsed a bright, laser-like spot of microwave radiation, called a maser, in Andromeda that could help measure its sideways movement. The speed at which Andromeda is moving towards the Milky Way can be determined from the Doppler shift of the light it emits. But the galaxy is too spread out for its subtle sideways motion in the sky to be detected. If it moves sideways fast enough it may miss colliding the Milky Way altogether.


When Did Proto-Life Emerge in the Universe?

6a00d8341bf7f753ef0133edb95240970b-320wi Three of Europe's cosmologists believe that the key to understanding the origin of life lies in identifying the time onset and the conditions which prevailed in our universe when life was first fashioned. Based on recent cosmological measurements complex life appeared on Earth 9.6 Gyrs (9.6 billion years) after the Big Bang.

However, these life forms may have been derived from earlier life forms, perhaps proto-life which emerged within a few billions years after the Big Bang according to research by Nicola Poccia, Alessandro Ricci, Antonio Bianconi all physicists with Sapienza University of Rome. The team theorizes that life could have emerged in different regions in the cosmos in the time range between 1.5- 9.6 Gyrs, the time range that marked the onset of dark energy domination in the universe, coupled with rapid star formation and supernovas.


Is There a Neanderthal in Your DNA?


A remarkable finding could answer the question whether our human ancestors and the Neanderthals interbred some time after both species left Africa many thousands of years ago. Only 10 years after scientists triumphantly decoded the human genome, an international research team has mapped the genes of the long-extinct Neanderthal people and report there's a pinch of Neanderthal in all of us.


"The Galaxy" in Your Inbox, Free, Daily