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Most distant black hole "heard" munching star

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posted on Aug, 7 2012 @ 03:18 PM

The wobbles in energy produced as a black hole consumes a star have been detected from further away than ever before.

Because they are so regular, their discoverer likes to think of the wobbles as a kind of sound. "We are able to metaphorically hear a star being devoured by a supermassive black hole," says Rubens Reis of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, "4.8mHz would be a very low D-sharp, slightly out of tune."

...As the black hole is supermassive, the detection also confirms that black holes feed on star stuff in the same way, whether the black hole is the mass of 10 suns or 10 million suns. "For me that is a rather beautiful thing," says Reis.

More at Source (New Scientist)

Supermassive black hole Swift J1644+57 is the most distant confirmed black hole, and its a huge, hungry beast. The "wobbles" mentioned above have been detected in smaller black holes, but never in one this size before. The article notes that these observations arevaluable because they confirm predicted behavior and can lead to new information about the fundamental nature of the universe, as well as the "local" but not-directly-observable black hole at the center of our own galaxy.

I find this article of value because it is a strong confirmation of mankind's ability to peer into the utmost limit of space and time, and to confirm by observation what we have predicted in pure theory. As Carl Sagan wrote, "We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers," something that is demonstrated beautifully by this story.

edit on 8/7/2012 by silent thunder because: (no reason given)


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