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Space Science

Black Holes Lead Galaxy Growth 50

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 QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <> on Tuesday January 06, 2009 @11:36PM (#26353229) Homepage Journal

    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 RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @05:52AM (#26355529) Homepage Journal

    ``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 another.

The optimum committee has no members. -- Norman Augustine