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.

Einstein’s Gravitational Theory Leads to Nobel Prize Win for Scientists Who Proved It

These scientists scooped up the Nobel by detecting a ripple in space-time.

Albert Einstein. Credit: Getty Images.

Officials in Sweden have just announced the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics. Three American scientists won for detecting, for the very first time, gravitational waves or ripples in space-time, which were first predicted by Einstein back in 1916. Rainer Weiss of MIT, and Barry Barish and Kip Thorne of Caltech were this year’s recipients.

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