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Waspie_Dwarf

Black Hole Bonanza in Galaxy Next Door

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NASA's Chandra Turns Up Black Hole Bonanza in Galaxy Next Door

Using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, astronomers have discovered an unprecedented bonanza of black holes in the Andromeda Galaxy, one of the nearest galaxies to the Milky Way.

Using more than 150 Chandra observations, spread over 13 years, researchers identified 26 black hole candidates, the largest number to date, in a galaxy outside our own. Many consider Andromeda to be a sister galaxy to the Milky Way. The two ultimately will collide, several billion years from now.

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"Many consider Andromeda to be a sister galaxy to the Milky Way. The two ultimately will collide, several billion years from now.."i'm glad it won't be in my life time

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i'm glad it won't be in my life time

Even if it was you wouldn't notice a thing. The distance between stars is so great that the chances of any physical contact is virtually zero.

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but there's always that 1 in... chance

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The average distance between stars is 160 billion (1.6×1011) km (100 billion mi). That is analogous to one ping-pong ball every 3.2 km (2.0 mi). Thus, it is extremely unlikely that any two stars would collide when the two galaxies merge. Much more likely is that our solar system would be ejected entirely out of the newly merged galaxy due to coming to close to s black hole. Don't worry though, we'll be long gone from earth in 4 billion years anyway...the sun's increasing luminosity will fry the earth in about 1.5 billion years...assuming that global warming doesn't do the job first.

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Can anyone recommend further reading on black holes as I'm wondering what hard evidence we have as to what they are?

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Maybe we'll find all those missing socks and tv remotes.

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Posted (edited)

Can anyone recommend further reading on black holes as I'm wondering what hard evidence we have as to what they are?

Can't name any off the top of my head, however you should be able to find many resources online with a search engine.

Current theories are that black holes are the remnants of massive stars whose primary fuel supply has run out, allowing gravity to overwhelm atomic fusion. Gravity causes the star to collapse and the matter therein becomes so dense that not even light can escape from it beyond a certain radius (called the event horizon). Somewhere at the center of the collapsed star is a region known as a singularity where matter is basically infinitely dense.

Because of the fact that they do not give off light, they are not directly observable and are inferred by x-rays and other radiation as matter is heated up as it is being "consumed" in an area known as an accretion disk, where the matter is orbiting the black hole at tremendous velocities. There are also what are known as "super-massive" black holes at the centers of galaxies and they have been detected by the orbits of stars near the galactic center, which are rapidly orbiting an unseen object. These supposedly have the mass of billions of suns. In some galaxies you also see jets of plasma extending out millions of miles into space perpendicular to the orbit plain of the black hole, another clue to their existence.

Most of the above is from memory and the information could certainly be out-dated. There are many scientific papers concerning stars and gravity, various books, artist interpretations and mathematical representations of black holes.

Edited by Sundew
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Thanks Sundew I really appreciate that explanation especially as it was concise,I have very little time to read so that was very helpful,cheers

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