Scientists using NASA's Swift satellite say they have found newborn black holes, just seconds old, in a confused state of existence.I can relate to that...
The holes are consuming material falling into them while somehow propelling other material away at great speeds.With planet-sized chunks of matter being annihilated, it would be fairly energetic too.
These black holes are born in massive star explosions. An initial blast obliterates the star, yet the chaotic black hole activity appears to re-energize the explosion several times in just a few minutes. This is a dramatically different view of star death, one that entails multiple explosive outbursts and not just a single bang, as previously thought.
"Stars are exploding two, three and sometimes four times in the first minutes following the initial explosion," said Prof. David Burrows of Penn State, University Park, Pa. "First comes a blast of gamma rays followed by intense pulses of X-rays. The energies involved are much greater than anyone expected," he added.
Until this latest Swift discovery, scientists assumed a simple scenario of a single explosion followed by a graceful afterglow of the dying embers. The new scenario of a blast followed by a series of powerful "hiccups" is particularly evident in a gamma-ray burst from May 2, 2005, named GRB 050502B.
This burst lasted 17 seconds during the early morning hours in the constellation Leo. About 500 seconds later, Swift detected a spike in X-ray light about 100 times brighter than anything seen before.
"The newly formed black hole immediately gets to work," said Prof. Peter Meszaros of Penn State, head of the Swift theory team. "We aren't clear on the details yet, but it appears to be messy. Matter is falling into the black hole, which releases a great amount of energy. Other matter gets blasted away from the black hole and flies out into the interstellar medium. This is by no means a smooth operation," he added.
there's so much about the Universe we don't know. And that's just the physical bit, let alone the answer to the ultimate question about Life, the Universe, and Everything.