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Space Science

Supermassive Black Holes Not So Big After All 153

An anonymous reader writes "Supermassive black holes are between 2 and 10 times less massive than previously thought, according to new calculations published by German astrophysicists (abstract)."
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Supermassive Black Holes Not So Big After All

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  • Re:Math? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 17, 2011 @11:50AM (#35232588)

    The pattern "x as massive" isn't the same as the pattern "x times less massive". You understand the first pattern. Now you need to learn the second pattern.

  • Re:Math? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Mr_Huber ( 160160 ) on Thursday February 17, 2011 @12:26PM (#35233132) Homepage

    It's also a difficulty with language. In physics, mass and weight are two separate concepts. We have comparison words for weight: heavier and lighter. But we do not necessarily have the same comparison words for mass. So we're stuck with the English default construct of more massive and less massive. Sure, we could use lighter in this context and hope everyone understands we really are discussing the concept of mass, not gravitational attractive force to the local big rock, but most physicists dislike that imprecision.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.