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NASA Space Science

NASA Uncovers Millions of New Black Holes 77

Posted by Soulskill
from the enough-for-everybody-so-please-share dept.
coondoggie writes "NASA today said its Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer satellite has unearthed a 'bonanza of new-found supermassive black holes and extreme galaxies called hot DOGs, or dust-obscured galaxies.' NASA said the latest discoveries help astronomers better understand how galaxies and the behemoth black holes at their centers grow and evolve together." The news was released in a press conference, and io9 has a comprehensive write-up about everything that was covered, including the Q&A session. Pretty pictures here.
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NASA Uncovers Millions of New Black Holes

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  • by msauve (701917) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @05:03PM (#41171995)
    Quick, cover them back up, before they cool off!
    • oh god oh god oh god WHAT HAS SCIENCE DONE

      THEY'LL absorb EVERYTHING aaaaaah
    • [...] its Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer satellite has unearthed a "bonanza of new-found supermassive black holes [...]"

      So, in fact, they were right here all along, covered in dirt.

      There's also a hot dog joke in there somewhere.

    • Temperatures measured in pico-kelvins
      • by msauve (701917)
        You're referring to Hawking radiation, and of course that only applies to the temperature as measured externally. What's the temperature of your refrigerator? Mine's a bit above 0C, but I can't measure that externally. Similarly, the event horizon can be viewed as an insulator, so what is the internal [technologyreview.com] temperature of a black hole [worldofweirdthings.com]?

        With a covering (accretion disk), the externally seen temperature is much higher, in the millions of degrees, hence my comment.
    • They evaporate over vast expanses of time (googol years). They get hotter as the become smaller. But the time an event horizon is around atomic size, they can reach trillions of degrees.
  • Black holes (Score:4, Funny)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @05:05PM (#41172011)

    So what they're saying is... they've found teenagers.

  • In other news, NASA retracted their claim of millions of new black holes, saying "Someone spilled some coffee on the printouts, sorry..."

  • by WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @05:17PM (#41172171)

    I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, 'are there a million black holes waiting to hoover up all sentient life from the universe or are there 100 million black holes waiting to hoover up all sentient life from the universe? ' Well to tell you the truth, in all the chaos I myself can't remember how many black holes I made. So let me ask you, punk. Do you feel lucky ?

    • The word "hoover" just sounds weird in Eastwood's voice.
    • Do you feel lucky ?

      There is no luck, only science. Hawking radiation -- your black holes will eventually starve and then dissipate.

      • by hansraj (458504) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @05:31PM (#41172323)

        A black hole would dissipate via Hawking radiation only if it doesn't absorb more energy than it emits. Large blackholes absorb more energy (cosmic background radiation) than they would emit and hence will not necessarily dissipate. From wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:

        "A black hole of one solar mass has a temperature of only 60 nanokelvins; in fact, such a black hole would absorb far more cosmic microwave background radiation than it emits. A black hole of 4.5 × 1022 kg (about the mass of the Moon) would be in equilibrium at 2.7 kelvin, absorbing as much radiation as it emits. Yet smaller primordial black holes would emit more than they absorb, and thereby lose mass."

    • by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @05:24PM (#41172219) Journal

      a hundred million black holes in the universe? Given that there are 170 billion galaxies, that's a pretty small number of black holes.

      • Yes! A hundred million black holes. One for every miracle. [infospace.com]
      • by Sulphur (1548251)

        a hundred million black holes in the universe? Given that there are 170 billion galaxies, that's a pretty small number of black holes.

        Every now and then, one leaves its galaxy and goes to another.

  • by Marrow (195242) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @05:23PM (#41172207)

    Black holes are heavy right?

    • by Greyfox (87712)
      Why yes! So heavy, in fact, that one pound of black hole matter weighs over ten thousand pounds!

      If you read that in the voice of Professor Farnsworth, good for you!

    • by Carewolf (581105)

      No, the dark matter is detected by unseen evenly distributed mass across the universe. The black holes are discovered by unseen by very unevenly distributed mass in the universe.

  • Budget (Score:2, Troll)

    by Osgeld (1900440)

    Guess someone finally bothered to look at that thing, and found all these black holes

  • New? (Score:5, Funny)

    by rossdee (243626) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @05:32PM (#41172335)

    I'll bet these have been around longer than we have

  • by arthurh3535 (447288) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @05:35PM (#41172363)

    It sounds like they just found a lot of 'missing mass' here? How does it jibe for balancing things without using 'dark matter/energy'?

    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @06:30PM (#41172965) Homepage

      How does it jibe for balancing things without using 'dark matter/energy'?

      Not well.

      These SMBHs are in the centers of galaxies, and piling up more mass at the center of a galaxy doesn't explain the problem of flat galactic rotation curves. The mass needs to be in and surrounding the galaxy, which is why the non-exotic DM theory is called "MACHOs" as in MAssive Compact Halo Objects -- because it'd have to be in the halo.

      It's even worse for Dark Energy, since extra mass would actually have the opposite effect that DE has, pushing the universe closer to the Big Crunch scenario. It certainly would not explain accelerating expansion.

    • Depends on what a "lot" of missing mass is, that's relative to the amount of mass there is. We can't know how much mass there is, that might be a missing spec in the grand scheme of things.
    • by Smauler (915644) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @08:09PM (#41173827)

      It doesn't. Basically the reasoning for dark matter is this :

      Under Newtonian or Einsteinian physics, galaxies should rotate a lot slower on the outside, and quicker in the middle than than they actually do (a little like our solar system behaves). No one can explain why they do not, satisfactorily yet.

      Dark matter is an explanation which proposes that there is undetectable matter causing the gravity interference which does explain the mechanics of galactic movements. Trouble is, we haven't got a hold of dark matter yet, so although it's an explanation, it's not concrete by any means. If you want a definite explanation, you're probably going to have to go to your priest.

      Black holes don't fit. There aren't that many black holes, and despite the name, they are observable. If there were enough black holes to cause galaxies to rotate like they do, we'd have seen them already.

      • Perhaps someone knows... The more massive the gravitational field, the more time dilation, yes? The farther out you go the less drastic the effect is. Could the rotation just appear (to our frame of reference) to be moving not as fast in the middle (where the gravity is strongest) even though it is moving as it should according to our theories?

        • Perhaps someone knows... The more massive the gravitational field, the more time dilation, yes? The farther out you go the less drastic the effect is. Could the rotation just appear (to our frame of reference) to be moving not as fast in the middle (where the gravity is strongest) even though it is moving as it should according to our theories?

          IINAP (and I'm guessing you're not, either). I used to think of things like this and say, "gosh, couldn't this be the explanation?" Then I remember that there are thousands of experts in the field, and it is extremely improbable that me, a layperson in the field, has thought of something -- especially something relatively (pun intended) simple -- that an expert hasn't thought of and obviously debunked (because we would have read about it were it plausible).

          That said, I don't understand the physics behin

        • by Chris Burke (6130)

          The farther out you go the less drastic the effect is. Could the rotation just appear (to our frame of reference) to be moving not as fast in the middle (where the gravity is strongest) even though it is moving as it should according to our theories?

          Well, if this was the case, then we would see the same effect in our solar system -- both in the orbits of other planets, and in the orbits of moons around planets -- and they too would show flat rotation curves. However we do not, and both show decreasing orbi

  • That dark matter isn't so dark anymore in the IR range apparently.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... nothing to see here, please move along!

  • Artist's concept of a dusty torus [wikipedia.org], or donut [wikipedia.org], of accreting material fueling a quasar [wikia.com].

    There's a "WASH ME" car analogy in there somewhere... I just can't find it!

  • "The thing about a black hole - it's main distinguishing feature - is it's black. And the thing about space, the color of space, your basic space color - is it's black. So how are you supposed to see them?"

  • by excelsior_gr (969383) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @06:23PM (#41172883)

    Maybe now they can find all my missing socks.

  • by swschrad (312009) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @06:44PM (#41173127) Homepage Journal

    find any new ones in space?

    • by Hillgiant (916436)

      The immovable thing that inexorably attracts, consumes, and destroys nearby resources? You would need to look into the Pentagon budget for those. Specifically for outsourcing contracts in certain congressional districts.

  • ... does it take to fill Albert Hall?

  • It is election season....

  • "We've got the black holes cornered," said Daniel Stern of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., lead author of the WISE black hole study and project scientist for another NASA black-hole mission, the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR). "WISE is finding them across the full sky, while NuSTAR is giving us an entirely new look at their high-energy X-ray light and learning what makes them tick."

    So that's "cornered" as in "Nobody move, I've got you all surrounded"?

  • Why all this americanism? Lets do 'churros' next time -- celestial hypernovas universally renderes recognizable on search

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