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Space & Astronomy

Milky Way galaxy is riddled with black holes

By T.K. Randall
August 10, 2017 · Comment icon 17 comments

Black holes are surprisingly common. Image Credit: NASA / Alain Riazuelo
A new study has revealed that there are actually tens of millions of black holes in our own galaxy alone.
Few cosmic phenomena remain as frightening and mysterious as black holes - regions of space in which the gravitational pull is so great that nothing, not even light itself, can escape.

Exactly how many of them are out there has long remained a topic of debate among scientists, but now, by putting together a veritable cosmic inventory of stellar-remnant black holes, astronomers from the University of California, Irvine have determined that the universe appears to be teeming with them.

Even our own galaxy, the Milky Way, is thought to be home to as many as 100 million black holes.
The team's celestial census began over 18 months ago, just after the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detected gravitational waves for the first time.

"Fundamentally, the detection of gravitational waves was a huge deal, as it was a confirmation of a key prediction of Einstein's general theory of relativity," said co-author James Bullock.

"But then we looked closer at the astrophysics of the actual result, a merger of two 30-solar-mass black holes. That was simply astounding and had us asking, 'How common are black holes of this size, and how often do they merge ?'"

Source: UCI.edu | Comments (17)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #8 Posted by Grandpa Greenman 7 years ago
That is really no surprise the galaxy is full of black holes, when you think about them as being stellar remnants and the age of the universe.  Kind of like those old concert tee shirts I bought in the 70's, full of holes.   
Comment icon #9 Posted by thelion318 7 years ago
I don't understand why this is scary to some people. The Earth is 5 billion years old and has not been affected by one of these numerous black holes before. Just because they are there doesn't mean anyone is in any immediate danger, they are very far away.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Frank_Hoenedge 7 years ago
Unfortunately, we don't have a scale for how fast materials can travel within the CMB before their bonds break, this knowledge might be beyond our years. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kugelblitz_(astrophysics) "In theoretical physics, a kugelblitz (German: "ball lightning") is a concentration of light so intense that it forms an event horizon and becomes self-trapped: according to general relativity, if enough radiation is aimed into a region, the concentration of energy can warp spacetime enough for the region to become a black hole (although this would be a black hole whose ori... [More]
Comment icon #11 Posted by paperdyer 7 years ago
And never be able to use the information unless they are a tunnel to another dimension.
Comment icon #12 Posted by paperdyer 7 years ago
What's so scary is we keep finding more of them.  Who knows if there isn't a small one headed our way that we just haven't found yet.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Nathan Brazil 7 years ago
One heading our way? GOOD !!
Comment icon #14 Posted by Crystal Rose 7 years ago
This topic made me think of something.... if gravity can beat light... can it become a speed? So instead of speed of light, it would be speed of gravity? Or perhaps make light go faster?
Comment icon #15 Posted by Yinarchy 7 years ago
Looking for antimatter? Look in a black hole! Why has no one figured out the obvious?
Comment icon #16 Posted by qxcontinuum 7 years ago
i went to the beach today. I was able to estimate the total grains of sand to be 150 billions
Comment icon #17 Posted by taniwha 7 years ago
Yes I think there are more grains of sand on earth than there are black holes riddling the universe.


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