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The Galaxy Report

THe Galaxy Report

Your free twice-weekly fix of  stories of space and science –a random journey from Planet Earth through the Cosmos– that has the capacity to provide clues to our existence and add a much needed cosmic perspective in our Anthropocene epoch.

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Monster Black Hole at the Beginning of the Universe –“Unseen Spinning Source of Creation”

Quasar J1007+2115


When the iconic black hole the size of our Solar System located at the center of the galaxy M87 was imaged in 2019, astronomers described it as witnessing the “gates of Hell and the end of spacetime.” Fast forward to today, astronomers using three Maunakea Observatories in Hawai’i describe the second-most distant quasar ever found at a cosmological redshift greater than 7.5, and it hosts a black hole twice as large as the other quasar known in the same era. They call this new quasar Pōniuā`ena, which means “unseen spinning source of creation, surrounded with brilliance” in the Hawaiian language. The light observed from Pōniuā`ena reached Earth 13 billion years after leaving the quasar just 700 million years after the Big Bang.


Astronomers Peer Through the Fog at Milky Way’s Supermassive Black Hole –“Is It Emitting a Jet Angled Toward Earth?”


Black Hole


In 2019 astronomers lifted the veil on the monster black hole called Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) at the heart of our Milky Way Galaxy. Using computer modelling, the scientists simulated the material inside the thick cloud of plasma, dust and gas surrounding Sgr A*.  The results pointed to the possibility of a relativistic jet coming from the supermassive black hole with an inclination that is aligned with Earth’s viewing point. 


A New State of Matter –“Black Hole Physics of Strange Metals”

A New State of Matter --"The Black Hole Physics of Strange Metals"


“Not only does God play dice but… he sometimes throws them where they cannot be seen,” said Stephen Hawking about the paradoxical physics of black Holes. Welcome to the bizarre quantum world of “strange metals” –a new state of matter.


“Worlds in Collision” – ‘Reawakening’ Milky Way’s Supermassive Black Hole

 blobs of gas roughly the mass of Jupiter at Milky Way's Black Hole


“Beautiful as it is, our Universe is constantly evolving, often through violent events like the Milky Way’s forthcoming collision with the Large Magellanic Cloud,” said Carlos Frenk, Director of the Institute for Computational Cosmology at the University of Durham. “Barring any disasters, like a major disturbance to the Solar System, our descendants, if any, are in for a treat: a spectacular display of cosmic fireworks as the newly awakened supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, Sagittarius A*, reacts by emitting jets of extremely bright energetic radiation.”


“I Couldn’t Believe My Eyes”–A Strange Signal from One of the Largest Objects in the Cosmos


Perseus Cluster


“I couldn’t believe my eyes,” said Esra Bulbul of the Harvard Center for Astrophysics in July of 2014 of a still unfolding story about a strange signal that appeared not to come from any known type of matter detected in the x-ray spectrum in the Perseus Cluster –one of the most massive known objects in the universe. “What we found, at first glance, could not be explained by known physics.”