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back to article Supersized stellar blackhole prompts model rewrite

Researchers have located the most massive stellar black hole ever discovered, just three million light-years away in a nearby galaxy. The stellar remnant is in a binary system known as M33, orbiting a huge companion star. The researchers say the find is "intriguing", because of what it suggests about stellar evolution. …

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Anonymous Coward

Later addition?

Couldn't the "companion" star be a later capture of the black hole (or vice versa, since the bright object is the massier by nearly 5 times)?

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Silver badge

's a funny day today

A big fat black hole? Racism, fatism and stellar evoultion all in the same article. Would it have been so fat if it had evolved in a different part of the universe? I think we need Dr. Watson, no need for the fire brigade as it's already dead.

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Alert

Just 3 Million Light Years?

It's possibly the furthest object that can be seen with naked eye, and even then only under perfect conditions.

I think Andromeda Galaxy is slightly closer.

Anything outside our own Galaxy (the Milky Way), is really far.

Even if we could built a Starship, the inter Galaxy distances are much much bigger. Our entire Galaxy is 3000 times smaller than the distance to M33.

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Happy

Hmmm....

Sounds to me like the black hole existed at that place before the smaller companion got "sucked" towards it....haven't you seen Dr Who?....that's what happens, coz it was on the telly.......Black Holes just suck everything inside them....so maybe they weren't twins and the small one will soon get "consumed".....

Oh, nearly forgot - the light we are seeing is from 3 million years ago...so maybe it's already had lunch...time for a little desert...how about a nice Milky Way ???

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Mars

Marauding Black Holes

For a black hole to be so stupidly large, could it simply be that several black holes have already merged? Is this the result of a very ancient galaxy merger or something like that, since there are black holes at the centre of spiral galaxies?

Could some stars have joined forces?

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Doesn't fit... time for a re-write...

Is it just me or do astrophysicists spend more time re-writing old rules then they do finding out new stuff? i.e. they are perpetually wrong about everything?

Not wanting to piss on their cornflakes, as I feel aspect of astronomy are merit worthy causes, but I'm constantly amazed by how fickle they seem to be when it comes to "facts".

Let's be honest, what does us understanding this black hole 3 million light years have to do with the price of fish?

This information, though interesting, is totally frigging useless, and evidentially, continually contradicting itself. All of these great minds should instead be focussing on how to actually get us there - America may have looked sweet as a nut to Chris C all those years ago, but he only discovered anything of use once he got his feet on dry land. So unless uncovering why these 2 massive bodies are dancing around each other like they are will enable a faster route to teleportation, then it's lacking IMO...

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Happy

Re: 's a funny day today

@ Chirs

Eh? WTF you talking 'bout Willis? What the heck has a black hole got to do with Racism? What the heck has a big black hole got to do with being obese?

Feeling a tad sensitive today?

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Re: Doesn't fit... time for a re-write...

> Let's be honest, what does us understanding this black hole 3 million light years have to do with the price of fish?

Nothing. Then again, what does the price of fish have to do with understanding our place in the universe and finding out how it works?

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Coat

Hmmm

Must be the weekend getting closer

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Boffin

Facts... not facts

Tony,

"Is it just me or do astrophysicists spend more time re-writing old rules then they do finding out new stuff? i.e. they are perpetually wrong about everything?

Not wanting to piss on their cornflakes, as I feel aspect of astronomy are merit worthy causes, but I'm constantly amazed by how fickle they seem to be when it comes to "facts"."

There are very few facts in astrophysics/astronomy. That which is routinely reported in the media as "fact" is in actuality little more than the latest model/theory/observation. Call it a clash of cultures between science and the media -- models/theories/facts get over-turned all the time in science, that's part of our business, it's the way science works.

But the media like to portray this as some sort of catastophic upset, like someone stuffed up before but it's all OK now, or that someone came along and turned the world on its head. In reality it's just an incremental improvement in our understanding. This just isn't the way things are, but it sells the story, and that's their job. So, bless 'em, that's the way it ends up. In reality we deal with a high-complex systems and try to make our best interpretations of what's going on through the fog of very limited data; it's not a surprise that our interpretations ("facts" as they're conveyed to you) change every now and then.

As for what use all of this is ... you're right when it comes to the bottom line there's no profit to be had from this sort of work in a direct sense. However astronomy/astrophysics has proven to be a very useful and effective in attracting kids to study science, particularly physics, at school and university. This is despite it being one of the hardest degrees one can take at Uni. We turn out numerate, scientifically/technically literate graduates, with problem-solving skills, many of whom go on to work in the City, and other high-tech sectors. This is our spin-off, and the annual budget for astronomy and astrophysics is peanuts compared to eg. the Whitehall paper-clip budget :-) Our graduates are a hell of a lot more useful than those who roll out the door with a degree in Media Studies, and this sort of work on black-holes plays it's own small role in getting them in the door in the first place (alongside extra-solar planets, which are the other main draw).

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@tony from tony

Hi ...good stuff ... "Brain capture" with stimulating ideas makes good "Social Science" even if the Frame shifts a bit on its uncertain journey . Black Holes however are just the back door to a whole New realm of "Super Physics" that we have yet to penitrate .

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My 2 Cents

<donning silver-foil cap>

How about this: super-massive star (160+ sollar masses) goes nova fairly early on in the cycle due the the unstability of such a large mass. During the novae, about 70 solar masses of ejecta got, er.. ejected while the remainder collapsed into a black hole. The ejecta didn't move fast enough to escape the gravitational pull of the new BH, but did move fast enough to escape the "event horizon". The ejecta got pulled into an accretion disk wich further collapsed into a new star of ~70 solar masses.

Voila!

<cheesy grin>

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M33

I always wondered why the M3, which was an upgrade to the A33, was never called the M33. Now I know. People might have it mixed up with this black-hole/big-star binary system. With Basingstoke, at one end of the M3, being a bit of a hole the confusion would have been understandable.

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El Reg: Can we have a <donning aluminium foil hat> icon please?

I agree with Aubry.

Yes it was astronomy and the Apollo programme that mainly inspired me when I was a geeky kid. Oh and lego and Thunderbirds and dinosaurs and Tomorrows World. And ... ok I admit it ... Open University!!

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Go

The purpose of astronomy/astrophysics

Great post, Anonymous Coward, explaining the role of theoretical studies from any discipline.

The problem with Astrophysics that you don't get in virtually any other physical science is you can't go and experiment with the objects you are analysing. All you can do is look for observable phenomena and then build a theory around what you see. Find something new and you then have to adjust your theory to fit the new observations. The general populace, however don't understand the difference between a "theory" and a "fact" - hence the huge confusion over Darwin's THEORYof evolution. The religious nutters rejoice whenever they find a "fact" that doesn't fit into the "theory" and try to use that to disprove it. However modifying and updating a theory to fit newly established observations and facts is all part of the Scientific Method. Sadly for most people its more interesting follow the complex social dynamics on Eastenders that to try to understand the fundamental philosophy behind Science.

BSc Astrophysics, QMC London 1983 :)

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Alien

3 Million Lightyears...

...was the distance to E.T.'s planet. Remember? One of the taglines said "3 Million Lightyears from Home"

So either E.T. is dead, or his folk have worked out how to live in a black hole...

No wonder he was so short and dumpy

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