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ASTRONOMY

A New Black Hole

Scientific American

September 13, 2000

Evidence that the heavens house a previously unknown type of black hole was reported by scientists yesterday. Data from NASA s Chandra X-Ray Observatory revealed a hole was some 600 light-years from the center of the starburst galaxy M82. The brightness of the x-ray source indicates that this moon-size hole has the mass of at least 500 suns, making it intermediate between stellar black holes and the supermassive black holes found at the centers of galaxies. This opens a whole new field of research, said Martin Ward, a lead author on one of three papers to be published on the subject. No one was sure that such black holes existed, especially outside the centers of galaxies.

Earlier data from the Roentgen Satellite and the Advanced Satellite for Cosmology and Astrophysics had suggested that M82 might contain a large black hole outside its nucleus, but the Chandra results seal the deal. The new object might have resulted from the collapse of a hyperstar or the growth of a smaller black hole through mergers with others nearby. –Kate Wong

Summary

A new unknown type of black hole was discovered on September 12, 2000. It was found to be 600 light-years of the Starburst Galaxy M82. An x-ray source indicates that the moon-size black hole has the mass of at least 500 suns, making it intermediate between stellar black holes and the supermassive black holes found at the center of galaxies (Scientific America, 1). Scientists were shocked at this discovery, for they didn t know that these types of black holes existed. Scientists believe this black hole may have been due to a collapsed hyperstar or the growth of a smaller black hole through mergers with others nearby.

Reaction

I find this so very fascinating because I can not even fathom how space and galaxies exist. With newer and faster technology, come new discoveries, and I think it s great that we have the chance to explore a whole new frontier unlike the one we live on. I am in awe of what is possible today through the means of such a technologically advanced society. To know that people are able to leave our earth completely, in search of bigger and better things, utterly blows my mind.

The Future

Through our discoveries we uncover more and are able to advance due to the information that we accumulate. Our work and discoveries lead to new inventions, which in turn change our lifestyle. Scientists are looking toward the future thinking that some day, we may be able to live in space on another planet, and they re most likely correct. Technology has come so far, and it will continue to advance, as long as there are people on this earth.

Curriculum

Our school has an astronomy/space type course, however it could be so much stronger. Considering how 0much information there is to discuss about the planets and galaxies, as well as the discoveries that occur everyday, our course could easily be one of our finest. I believe that a class like this could be very popular and interesting due to the constant evolution of technology. Also if enough money was raised, maybe a planetarium could be built for further research and learning. It is unlikely that this could happen in this school district, however it is an idea that would surely benefit those who enjoy astronomy.


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