Humanity healed the ozone hole. Can we do the same for climate change?

The 2019 ozone hole. Credit: NASA The year was 1987, and Earth’s shield against the giant thermonuclear reaction in the sky was failing. Human-made chemicals in aerosol cans and refrigeration were eating up a thin protective layer of atmospheric gas called ozone, and heavy doses of radiation from the sun were leaking through. Scientists warned … Read more

Astronomers detect hot gas bubble swirling around the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole

This shows a still image of the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A*, as seen by the Event Horizon Collaboration (EHT), with an artist’s illustration indicating where the modeling of the ALMA data predicts the hot spot to be and its orbit around the black hole . Credit: EHT Collaboration, ESO/M. Kornmesser (Acknowledgment: M. Wielgus) Using … Read more

Astronomers Find a Sun-like Star Orbiting a Nearby Black Hole

In 1916, Karl Schwarzchild theorized the existence of black holes as a resolution to Einstein’s field equations for his Theory of General Relativity. By the mid-20th century, astronomers began detecting black holes for the first time using indirect methods, which consisted of observing their effects on surrounding objects and space. Since the 1980s, scientists have … Read more

A Black Hole can Tear a Neutron Star Apart in Less Than 2 Seconds

Almost seven years ago (September 14th, 2015), researchers at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detected gravitational waves (GWs) for the first time. Their results were shared with the world six months later and earned the discovery team the Noble Prize in Physics the following year. Since then, a total of 90 signals have been … Read more

‘Black hole police’ discover a dormant black hole outside the Milky Way galaxy

This artist’s impression shows what the binary system VFTS 243 might look like if we were observing it up close. The system, which is located in the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud, is composed of a hot, blue star with 25 times the Sun’s mass and a black hole, which is at least … Read more

Claims of new ‘tropical ozone hole’ raise controversy

A scientist recently claimed that he’d discovered a gargantuan hole in the ozone layer of Earth’s atmosphere that first appeared above the tropics in the 1980s but went unacknowledged until now. However, upon his research being published, the received swift criticism from experts who flagged his study as deeply flawed. “I am surprised that this … Read more

Modeling the merger of a black hole with a neutron star and the subsequent process in a single simulation

Numerical simulation of a black hole-neutron star merger. The density profile is shown in blue and green, the magnetic-field lines penetrating the black hole are shown in pink. Unbound matter is shown in white its velocity by green arrows. Credit: K. Hayashi (Kyoto University) Using supercomputer calculations, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational … Read more

The ultimate fate of a star shredded by a black hole

If a star (red trail) wanders too close to a black hole (left), it can be shredded, or spaghettified, by the intense gravity. Some of the star’s matter swirls around the black hole, like water down a drain, emitting copious X-rays (blue). Recent studies of these so-called tidal disruption events suggest that a significant fraction … Read more

Reading between the lines to model our galaxy’s central black hole

Simulation of glowing gas around a black hole. Credit: Chris White, Princeton University Looks can be deceiving. The light from an incandescent bulb seems steady, but it flickers 120 times per second. Because the brain only perceives an average of the information it receives, this flickering is blurred and the perception of constant illumination is … Read more