Monday, November 15, 2010

NASA revealed youngest black hole found by Chandra

At 18:30 pm Central European Time, NASA TV (below) began to broadcast a press conference about the "discovery of an exceptional object in our cosmic neighborhood" by the Chandra X-ray observatory.
NASA TV (click for live TV, choose Media Channel)

Maybe, extraterrestrial aliens living on a black hole near Jupiter are taking X-rays pictures of their skeletons for medical purposes. ;-) Whatever it will be, there is a nonzero chance that the finding might be interesting.

Update: black hole or Crab Nebula Jr

It may be the youngest black hole (whose mass is 5 times the solar mass) created by a supernova 1979C in M100. The word "youngest" means that it was created a short time ago; it's "youngest" if judged by the moment when the light could get to the Earth. When was it born? Well, haha, that's a funny IQ test. The baby was born in 1979 - minus the 15 million years the light needed to get here from the galaxy where the black hole resides. :-)

The accreting matter emits lots of X-rays. We've observed the baby black hole for 31 years since its birth. If we continue to watch this object for 40 million extra years, the black hole will double its size. ;-) The accreation rate is nearly maximized for a black hole of the expected mass - which matches the observed luminosity. This additional numerical check provides us with a strong support that it is indeed a distant black hole.

Well, rather than a black hole, it could also be a hugely smaller object, a neutron star in a nebula in our own galaxy (vastly closer than if it is a black hole) and the X-rays could be the "pulsar wind". In that case, the object would be a young cousin of the Crab Nebula that was observed by astronomers in an emerging market, namely China. Just to be sure, the Chinese astronomers observed the SN1054 supernova in 1054. :-)

Thanks to Tudor Cristea for the alert.

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