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Black Holes

January 7, 2013 | By Amina Khan
NASA's NuSTAR X-ray telescope is providing fresh views of oddly bright black holes and breathtaking supernovae, scientists said Monday at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Long Beach. NuSTAR mission scientists released high-energy X-ray images of two strangely bright black holes in the arms of spiral galaxy IC 342 about 7 million light years away and of Cassiopeia A, the shell of an exploded star, known as a supernova, just 11,000 light years away. Since its launch last summer , the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array has been snapping shots at energies up to 79 kiloelectron volts - far beyond the roughly 10 KeV limit of other X-ray telescopes such as the Chandra X-Ray Observatory.
December 10, 2013 | By Steve Dilbeck
Let's begin with the premise that you have to play baseball with a third baseman. Pretty sure it's in the rules. And let's further go out on a metaphorical limb and conclude the Dodgers currently do not have one. What to do? The only two options available are signing a free agent or a trade; there is nothing in the system. Currently they don't have a third baseman on the 40-man roster, unless you count Hanley Ramirez. Move him over from shortstop and now you have the same hole at another infield position.
January 8, 2009 | John Johnson Jr.
Astronomers think they have finally solved the cosmic chicken-and-egg problem of what came first -- the giant black holes lying at the center of many big galaxies or the galaxies that feed them? The answer: the black holes. The finding, which surprised even the scientists involved, implies that black holes grow the galaxies surrounding them, like a garden springing from a single seed or a man growing a suit of clothes.
November 29, 2013 | By Amina Khan
A bright black hole in the Pinwheel galaxy has been shining us on, astronomers say - this intergalactic trickster puts out light like a big black hole but it's really quite tiny. M 101 ULX-1, described in the journal Nature, may force scientists to keep hunting for more "intermediate" black holes - and rethink their understanding of them. Black holes are thought to be remains of dead stars whose entire mass has collapsed to a tiny point. They warp space-time so badly that not even light can escape.
December 5, 2011 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
Astrophysicists scanning the heavens have clocked a new cosmological record: the two biggest black holes ever detected — one about 10 billion times the mass of our sun and the second as much as twice the size of the first. To be described in Thursday's edition of the journal Nature, these behemoth black holes are nearly double the size of the previous record-holder and — strangely — are far more massive than they should be given the size of the galaxies they reside within. For that reason, they stand to teach scientists much about how galaxies form and grow, astronomers said.
May 30, 2012 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
NASA will be launching a new telescope expected to bring black holes and supernovae into unprecedented focus, mission scientists announced Wednesday. The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, a mission to hunt for black holes, is scheduled to launch no sooner than June 13 from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, located north of the equator. It will look at some of the most mysterious phenomena in the universe, from the high-speed particle jets that blast from black holes to the remnants of exploded stars known as supernovae.
June 13, 2012 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
A once-canceled space telescope is set to launch into Earth orbit, where it will search for undiscovered black holes in the Milky Way and at the hearts of other galaxies. The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array will hunt for black holes that have been obscured by the dust and gas floating through space and measure how fast some of them are spinning. NuSTAR will also examine with fresh eyes the remnants of exploded stars known as supernovae. "It's a very exciting mission," said Roger Blandford, director of the Kavli Institute of Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at Stanford University and a member of the NuSTAR science team.
June 11, 1997 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Nature may make black holes with cookie-cutter precision, according to an astronomer who has found such uniformity in these mysterious objects that he suggests their size may be controlled by some basic law of physics. Yale University astronomer Charles Bailyn, who gave a report on his black-hole findings at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Winston-Salem, N.C.
July 22, 2004 | From Associated Press
Stephen Hawking formally presented a paper Wednesday that said he was wrong about black holes for almost 30 years. The renowned Cambridge University physicist's paper argued that black holes, the celestial vortexes formed from collapsed stars, preserve traces of objects swallowed up and eventually could spit bits out "in a mangled form."
January 14, 2000 | From The Washington Post
The universe appears to contain far more black holes than previously known, from ancient monsters lurking in galaxies at the edge of space-time to tiny "naked" holes drifting invisibly through the void. And the exotic objects may have played a crucial role in shaping the visible cosmos. Those are the conclusions of new research released Thursday from several separate groups of astronomers studying the sky with half a dozen telescopes.
November 21, 2013 | By Amina Khan
In a cosmos filled with darkness, scientists say they've discovered the first elusive neutrinos to come from  outside our solar system in a quarter-century. The groundbreaking discovery made beneath the ice of Antarctica opens a whole new window onto the high-energy universe -- one that will usher in a new era of astronomy. Using a cubic kilometer of ice buried deep beneath the surface of an Antarctic glacier, the international team of astrophysicists known as IceCube has picked 28 neutrinos that are so energetic that whatever created them must have been extremely powerful, utterly mysterious, or both.
October 23, 2013 | By Roxane Gay, guest blogger
Even though I've seen a mere handful of episodes of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians , ” I know too many things about Kim Kardashian and her sisters and the machinations of their manager-mother. I know things about Kim's appearance (gluteally speaking) and the kind of car she drives and with whom she socializes. Then there is, of course, that business with the sex tape. In 2011, Kardashian married NBA player Kris Humphries. There was no missing this news because the media exhaustively covered the engagement, wedding planning and wedding itself.
September 25, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
What would happen to you if you fell into a black hole?  Four physicists who write scientific papers about this kind of thing will discuss the current falling-into-black-hole theories, and you can join in the conversation online, right here, beginning at noon PDT. A black hole is the super-dense result of a dead star that has a gravitational field so strong not even light can escape its pull. All kinds of strange things are said to happen in and around black holes. They alter time.
April 17, 2013 | By Tiffany Kelly
A few Caltech students had the chance to pick famed physicist Stephen Hawking's brain on black holes and other topics after he gave a lecture on campus Tuesday. The questions were submitted in advance; Hawking answered through a speech-generating device. He was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 1963 and has spent much of his life in a wheelchair. One Caltech student asked Hawking after the lecture if he believed in a theory that our universe was caused by a black hole in another universe.
April 13, 2013 | Eryn Brown and Joseph Serna
Clive Svendsen doesn't get rattled easily, but the neurobiologist couldn't help sweating when Stephen Hawking paid a visit to his lab this week. Hawking is one of the world's foremost theoretical physicists. He pioneered groundbreaking research into how particles behave around black holes and deduced that black holes spit out radiation as they swallow up matter. He's also credited with teaching millions about the mysteries of the cosmos through his books, including the bestseller "A Brief History of Time.
April 10, 2013 | By Joseph Serna, This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.
Humans are on the cusp of discovering how the universe works on its biggest and smallest scales, Stephen Hawking said during a lecture Tuesday in Los Angeles. The renowned theoretical physicist made his name studying black holes, massive structures that anchor galaxies and whose gravity is so strong that not even light can escape. But on Tuesday, he delved into the world of microscopic cell biology to see first-hand how researchers at the Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute are using stem cells to develop treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, the disease Hawking was diagnosed with in 1963.
April 26, 2008 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Using powerful radio telescopes, scientists have captured a supermassive black hole just as it was belching out a jet of supercharged particles, offering a first look at how these cosmic jets are formed, the scientific team reported Thursday in the journal Nature. Supermassive black holes are believed to form the core of many galaxies, and astronomers have long suspected they eject jets of particles at nearly the speed of light. A kind of supermassive black hole known as a blazar was suspected of spewing out a pair of forceful streams of plasma 950 million light years from Earth.
September 6, 2003 | K.C. Cole, Times Staff Writer
For all their pull on the imagination, black holes have always seemed somewhat sedate -- passive one-way portals that swallow light and anything else that come within gravitational grabbing distance. But recent observations by a group of UCLA astronomers of the black hole at the center of the Milky Way have found that the path to oblivion is surprisingly churned up -- more like a tornado than a funnel.
March 23, 2013 | By Karen Kaplan, This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.
Scientists and space junkies got some good news from NASA on Friday: The space agency announced it would keep the Hubble Space Telescope 's science operations going at least through April 30, 2016. The three-year extension will cost NASA $76 million, according to the announcement . The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore manages Hubble's science operations for NASA through a contract with the Assn. of Universities for Research in Astronomy. PHOTOS: Hubble's Brilliant Images of Space Launched in 1990 from the shuttle Discovery, Hubble has contributed to many scientific breakthroughs . My personal favorite is the 1998 discovery that the universe is expanding at an accelerated rate, pushed apart by a mysterious force called dark energy.
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