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Chris Hadfield
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Astrophysicists discover exotic merger of black holes

Gravitational wave researchers observe black holes of different sizes colliding for the first time.

Simulation of two black holes of different size orbiting each other, while emitting gravitational waves. Blue colors are weaker gravitational radiation and red is stronger.
  • Gravitational wave researchers at LIGO and Virgo observatories spot black holes of different sizes colliding.
  • The finding is unusual because previous black hole mergers involved partners of similar size.
  • The new information re-confirms Einstein's theory of relativity.
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Astrophysicists discover why black holes and neutron stars shine bright

Researchers find what causes the glow coming from the densest objects in our universe.

Credit: NASA, ESA, J. Hester (Arizona State University)
  • Columbia University astrophysicists discovered the cause of the unusual glow coming from regions of space with black holes and neutron stars.
  • The researchers ran some of the largest computer simulations ever to reach their conclusions.
  • They found that turbulence and reconnection of super-strong magnetic fields are responsible for the light.
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Black hole death: How extreme tidal forces turn humans into spaghetti

Getting to close to a black hole is a nightmare waiting to happen.

  • Like ocean tides caused by gravity, a nearby black hole would create a 'tide' inside your body, which is mostly water.
  • As your body drew nearer to the black hole, your head would be stretched away from your feet.
  • Scientists call this streching "spaghettification", from the word of spaghetti.
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Rotating black holes may serve as gentle portals for hyperspace travel

Feel like traveling to another dimension? Better choose your black hole wisely.

One of the most cherished science fiction scenarios is using a black hole as a portal to another dimension or time or universe. That fantasy may be closer to reality than previously imagined.

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Ask a NASA astronomer! How did Stephen Hawking change the world?

Stephen Hawking was one of the greatest scientific and analytical minds of our time, says NASA's Michelle Thaller.

Stephen Hawking was one of the greatest scientific and analytical minds of our time, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. She posits that Hawking might be one of the parents of an entirely new school of physics because he was working on some incredible stuff—concerning quantum entaglement— right before he died. He was even humble enough to go back to his old work about black holes and rethink his hypotheses based on new information. Not many great minds would do that, she says, relaying just one of the reasons Stephen Hawking will be so deeply missed. You can follow Michelle Thaller on Twitter at @mlthaller.

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