“700 Trillion Suns” –A Black Hole So Huge It’s 10,000 Times Brighter Than Its Host

Gargatuan Black Hole

 

This black hole is growing so rapidly that it’s as luminous as 700 trillion suns, shining thousands of times more brightly than an entire galaxy due to all of the gases it sucks in daily that cause lots of friction and heat. How this drainpipe into eternity grew to such mass so early after the Big Bang is a profound puzzle for physics.

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Hypervelocity Stars –“Not Launched By Milky Way’s Supermassive Black Hole”

 

Supermassive Black Hole

 

“This discovery dramatically changes our view on the origin of fast-moving stars,” said Monica Valluri, an astronomer at the University of Michigan. “The fact that the trajectory of this massive fast-moving star originates in the disk rather that at the Galactic center indicates that the very extreme environments needed to eject fast-moving stars can arise in places other than around supermassive black holes.”

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“Very Weird, Very Extreme Life?” — Exoplanets of Neutron Stars

Neutron Star Geminga

 

What would life be like on a planet orbiting a pulsar? Astronomers estimate that the Milky Way contains an estimated 1 billion neutron stars, of which about 200,000 are pulsars –neutron stars of only 10 to 30 kilometers in diameter with enormous magnetic fields, that accrete matter and regularly burst out large amounts of X-rays and other energetic particles. So far, 3000 pulsars have been studied and only 5 pulsar planets have been found. In 1992, the first exoplanets ever were discovered around pulsar PSR B1257+12.

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“Extreme Relic”–Merging Black Holes Illuminated By Object Millions Times Smaller

 

M51 Galaxy

 

In the nearby Whirlpool galaxy and its companion galaxy, M51b, two supermassive black holes heat up and devour surrounding material. These two monsters should be the most luminous X-ray sources in sight, but a new study using observations from NASA’s NuSTAR (Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array) mission shows that a much smaller object is competing with the two behemoths.

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Ancient Quasars –“A New Physics of the Expanding Universe”

Quasar

 

Using quasars to measure the rate of the expansion of the universe has great potential, since we can observe them out to much greater distances from us than type-Ia supernovas to probe much earlier epochs in the history of the cosmos, says astronomer Elisabeta Lusso of Durham University.

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