NASA Chat: Giant Black Holes in the Early Universe

Portrayed in movies and on television most often as gateways to another dimension or cosmic vacuum cleaners sucking up everything in sight, the misconceptions surrounding black holes are many and varied. In reality, black holes form when, at the end of their life cycle, heavy stars collapse into a supernova. These relatively puny black holes may provide a "seed" for the development of the giant black holes -- called supermassive -- found at the center of galaxies, which grow by absorbing gas, stars and other black holes.

On Wednesday, June 15, NASA will announce a new discovery about giant black holes in the early universe. This discovery was made using the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Chandra gives astronomers a powerful tool to investigate the universe, especially those hot spots where black holes, exploding stars and colliding galaxies are most likely to live.

Since the Earth's atmosphere absorbs the vast majority of X-rays, they are not detectable from Earth-based telescopes, requiring a space-based telescope to make these observations. Chandra launched in 1999 aboard the Columbia during the STS-93 mission.

Astrophysicists Ezequiel Treister and Kevin Schawinski will be online at 3:00 p.m. EDT on June 15 to answer your questions about the announcement and about black holes in general.

Joining the chat is easy. Simply visit this page on Wednesday, June 15, from 3 to 4 p.m. EDT. The chat window will open at the bottom of this page starting about 30 minutes before the chat. You can log in and be ready to ask questions at 3 p.m.

No comments:

Post a Comment