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Space Science

Black Holes Lead Galaxy Growth 50

Posted by kdawson
from the why-did-the-galaxy-cross-the-road dept.
The AAS meeting in San Diego is producing lots of news on the astronomy front. Studying galaxies that were forming in the universe's first billion years, astronomers have solved a longstanding cosmic chicken-and-egg problem: which forms first, galaxies or the black holes at their cores? "'We finally have been able to measure black-hole and bulge masses in several galaxies seen as they were in the first billion years after the Big Bang, and the evidence suggests that the constant ratio seen nearby may not hold in the early Universe. The black holes in these young galaxies are much more massive compared to the bulges than those seen in the nearby Universe,"' said Fabian Walter of the Max-Planck Institute for Radioastronomy in Germany. 'The implication is that the black holes started growing first.'"
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Black Holes Lead Galaxy Growth

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @10:06PM (#26352375)
    People keep getting sucked in to these stories.
  • by Shag (3737) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @10:18PM (#26352507) Homepage

    The American Astronomical Society (AAS) is not the same thing as the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). This conference is astronomy-specific.

    • by corrie (111769)
      Please report this infraction to the AAAAA - American Association for Acronym Abuse Anonymous
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's also in Long Beach this year, not San Diego, but I guess we know better than to expect much from Slashdot science stories.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Shag (3737)

        D'oh, I should have caught the location too - I've got enough colleagues and co-collaborators there, presenting posters, papers, booths, whatever.

        I, of course, have been left behind to run things in their absence, thus protecting audiences from exposure to my idiocy. ;)

    • by rachit (163465)

      The American Astronomical Society (AAS) is not the same thing as the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

      Are you sure its not the American Science Society?

  • bulgy? (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The early universe is so bulgy, it's like a moose

  • by FlightlessParrot (1217192) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @10:57PM (#26352869)
    >We finally have been able to measure black-hole >and bulge masses in several galaxies seen as they >were in the first billion years after the Big Bang

    Galaxy cameltoe.

  • maybe, just maybe, when a blackhole 'consumes' enough matter that it then explodes and creating an expanding universe and a much smaller blackhole? The cycle would then continue.
    The blackhole grows by 'consuming' more matter until it reaches a critical mass... rinse.. repeat.

    Certainly out of my field of science expertise, but I always thought it would be a neat theory.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by QuantumG (50515) *

      It's cooler than that. Hawking radiation is literally the creation of matter from space. Virtual particles form on the event horizon of a black hole in pairs. One of them goes into the black hole, the other one doesn't.

      • by maugle (1369813) on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @11:51PM (#26353367)

        Even cooler/stranger, the virtual particle that goes into the black hole effectively has negative energy, so the black hole loses mass each time it consumes one.

        Sadly, I'll have to dispel that "black hole consumes enough matter and then explodes" theory. For something (like a particle in that sort of explosion) to escape a black hole, it would have to travel faster than light. Accelerating a particle to/above the speed of light requires an infinite amount of energy, so there simply isn't enough energy in the black hole (or the universe) to make the black hole explode.

        There are theories that within each black hole is a universe all to itself, but even if it's true we'd never be able to observe it.

        • by Fluffeh (1273756)

          There are theories that within each black hole is a universe all to itself, but even if it's true we'd never be able to observe it.

          OMG! Th4ts only b3cause you arnt c00l en0ugh to go INTO a black hole. Go w4tch h4ck3rs and st4rgat3 a few m0re time and l34rn!

          *cough* *spit*

          I can't understand how typing like that comes second nature to some people. Makes me feel dirty just trying. Anyhow, that's my bit of humor for the day.

        • by Thanshin (1188877) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @03:44AM (#26354881)

          There are theories that within each black hole is a universe all to itself, but even if it's true we'd never be able to observe it.

          "Never" doesn't usually work well in science.

          When you aproach the parts we've not really understood yet, it's advised to use expressions like "probably", "As far as we know", "educated guess", "whatever", "tiny little strings..."

        • by HTH NE1 (675604)

          There are theories that within each black hole is a universe all to itself, but even if it's true we'd never be able to observe it.

          "In, through... and beyond." -- Dr. Hans Reinhardt

    • not at all, i too share the same belief. however, i think when blackhole consumes enough energy, it actually rips spacetime bringing a small piece of spacetime with it. This is why we see blackholes disappear in space. This is not in direct contradiction to laws of energy conservation as the total energy will remain the same, it's just we will no longer be able to be affected by the energy at that point in space in the specified time. At that point, warping in spacetime created by singularity's gravity reco

  • by ookabooka (731013) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @01:04AM (#26353941)
    So I guess the wimps win this round? Small amount of matter out there, occasionally clumping around black holes and heating up? Or do machos win as there could be a lot of black holes out there that we cant observe?
  • If a black hole with a positive electric charge comes near another black hole with a positive electric charge, the two will, IMHO, repel each other because the electrostatic forces are larger even than the gravitational forces that can pull everything up to and including light into the black hole. However, if there are other black holes around with negative electric charges, those black holes in combination with the positively charged ones will form a giant unit which will be held together in a sort of cosm
    • by Thanshin (1188877)

      "Cool" as in "It's the friking apac... Apocola... The end is near! Repent!"

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RAMMS+EIN (578166)

      ``If a black hole with a positive electric charge comes near another black hole with a positive electric charge, the two will, IMHO, repel each other because the electrostatic forces are larger even than the gravitational forces that can pull everything up to and including light into the black hole.''

      That would depend on the strength of the charges, of course. A few million electrons of difference in charge isn't going to do much to stop two black holes of a couple million kilos each from gravitating to one

      • I could have sworn I studied these at some point, but today I'm stuck with this one question:

        Electromagnetism is conveyed by photons, which can't escape the singularity.

        Electricity and magnetism are merely two aspects of electomagnetism, so electric & magnetic fields are (I can but presume) conveyed by photons themselves.

        So how does the charge inside the singularity effect the outside? Its not gonna be skewing the charge of the Hawking radiation...

        I appreciate that for the charge to be one o
        • by Luyseyal (3154)

          I think the key here is that you're imagining the black hole as being "what's beneath the event horizon" whereas most are like the sun where you have various layers before you get to the core. The "atmosphere" is the part that is carrying the charge.

          -l

      • by Fëanáro (130986)

        ``If a black hole with a positive electric charge comes near another black hole with a positive electric charge, the two will, IMHO, repel each other because the electrostatic forces are larger even than the gravitational forces that can pull everything up to and including light into the black hole.''

        That would depend on the strength of the charges, of course. A few million electrons of difference in charge isn't going to do much to stop two black holes of a couple million kilos each from gravitating to one

  • "Black Holes Lead Galaxy Growth" - this is great news for our economy.
  • Queue LHC black hole hysteria in 3... 2... 1...
    • by Klootzak (824076)

      OMG!!! The Black hole will eat the world!!!
      /me Removes his paranoia hat

      Actually, what interests me regarding the LHC project is whether the Micro-Black-Holes that will possibly be created still hold true to the effects of Gravitational Time Dilation when in close proximity to the singularity?

      Anyone a Theoretical/Particle Physicist? Can you elaborate if so?

  • Where did the black holes come from, after only a billion years since the big bang? I think most stars survive for a few billion years before possibly contracting & maybe forming a black hole.

    Did these early black holes form in a different way?

    • That is exactly the question I want answered. Black holes form galaxies which are made of stars which sometimes collapse to form black holes. After the big bang, the universe is supposed to be super hot, homogeneous plasma, which doesn't really provide the raw source material for black holes.

      Either black holes formed first from something besides collapsed stars or they didn't. Since we have a theory of black hole formation from collapsed star and don't have an alternative source, Occam's razor would

      • Worse yet... if the big bang started as all the matter in the universe, then how did it manage to create the infinite energy necessary to escape itself and cause a "big bang?" It was basically a gigantic black hole so technically it was physically impossible for it to explode.

        Furthermore, it seems to me like we are in a limited area of an infinite universe filled with such mega clusters as what we perceive as the known universe. Much like a solar system often forms from the death of a star, our mega clust

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