Thursday, December 12, 2002

Deepest Infrared View of the Universe- An international team of astronomers has made the deepest-ever near-infrared Ks-band image of the sky, using the ISAAC multi-mode instrument on the 8.2-m VLT ANTU telescope. "From these observations, two interesting conclusions have been drawn so far. One is that although the newly identified galaxies do not appear to form stars very actively they probably account for about half the mass of normal matter present at this epoch. This is in sharp contrast to the galaxies at this early time found during optical surveys - they are very blue because of young and hot stars. Another is that galaxies existed already at that epoch which are clearly rather large, and some show spiral structure similar to that seen in very nearby galaxies." Last night I watched a show about Massive Black Holes on the Discovery channel. It seems that comsmologist are learning that black holes are not only responsible for destruction but also play a key role in the formation of galaxies. Andrea Ghez, a UCLA astronomer discussed how they discovered that every galaxy they have looked at so far has a black hole in the center of it (yes, including our own). Most of these black holes have stopped "feeding". Our black hole has started to show signs of feeding again. Although scientists say that it is nothing on a scale where it would effect us. But it does make them wonder what is it that makes a black hole start to feed again. There are so many mysteries out there that we haven't even begun to understand. Especially when it comes to black holes. The singularity in a black hole may require for us to "discover" new physics to understand their properties better. "The "singularity" at the center of this mind-boggling density. For the sake of comparison, consider a neutron star, that compressed-iron core left behind after a massive star explodes most of its gas into space. The density of a neutron star is, according to the cocktail-napkin calculations of supernova scholar Stanford Woosley, similar to 800 million elephants jammed into a cubic inch." Talk about mind boggling!

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