back to article Mega-colossal space raincloud found at moist black hole

A cloud of water vapour surrounding a quasar 12 billion light-years away has been spotted by two independent research groups, putting a huge mass of water in the very early universe. Two teams of sky-watching boffins spotted the cloud, confirming expectations that water existed very early in the universal life cycle. Until now, …

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Standard Units Please

"140 trillion times the volume of our oceans"

How many olympic sized swimming pools is that?

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A few...

I may be very wrong, but I'm thinking something like 7.3e34 olympic swimming pools.

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That's cool...

...that is all!

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Happy

"...so let's just say it's really big..."

Longer than a walk down the road to the chemist then, eh?

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Re: "...so let's just say it's really big..."

Depends on the chemist you are referring to - the walk to the nearest chemist only seems like a "big" walk when your backs playing up and you're off to get painkillers.

If you're referring to the chemist at the other end of the high street, then yes, it is that big.

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Boffin

That's a lot of nucleosynthesis

I hadn't realised there could be that much oxygen around that early - presumably it's from the really big first generation stars?

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Happy

Same thing that is happening here!

Cloud get swallowed by a black hole... this already happened a few time here, according to the IT industry :-) Now we know where the lost data in our (virtual cyber) cloud has gone!

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Standard Units...

I was just about to ask for standard units myself... :)

Which SI prefix would fit the best? Tera/Peta/Exa/Zetta/Yotta-olympic sized swimming pools?

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I would say

Googlympic

And that has nothing to do with the search engine !

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We also need a definition of "foreseeable future"

Since this is something that was actually happening 12 billion years ago, its forseeable future, is our seeable past. Either way, we can presumably presume that its forseeable future is less than 12 billion years, or else this sort of freaky stuff would still be going on in our own near-vicinity, today.

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Holmes

One of the simpler time-travel tenses

future conditional futuristic perfect - should be going to have happened

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Happy

Seems to me

That if you took 140 trillion oceans worth of water vapour, bombarded it with radiation and assorted space debris while stirring it for billions of years there would likely be a whole ecosystem of tasty lifeforms living in it by now.

Hello space things, pleased to meat you.

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Coat

On a first date?

Surely you mean 'meet' not 'meat'? If not, E.T's in for a surprise.

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Boffin

Or...

One very large cup of motorway service station 'tea'.

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Anonymous Coward

time passes...

Since all this zapping was happening near a black hole 12bn years ago maybe WE are that ecosystem of tasty lifeforms?

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No

He meant meat. e the knife and fork in his hand .

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Happy

Larry Niven's already been there

Integral Tree anyone

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Impossible

Because the molecules would have had to travel here faster than the light from there we're seeing arrive now.

(I think.)

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Boffin

No, it's far from impossible - it's reasonably likely

Not from that particular rainy quasar of course, but one very similar.

You're forgetting one of the fundamental principles of cosmology - the idea that the universe is and was pretty much the same all over at large scales.

So if you see a rainy quasar 12 billion years away, then it's pretty likely that 12 billion years ago there was another very similar rainy quasar right where we are.

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@Richard 12

I'm not saying no to that theory, all energy/matter has to come from somewhere (stars, black holes, quasars, supernovas, etc...). But I am saying no to that particular quasar.

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Go

Am I the only one...

...or did anyone else get Soundgarden lyrics running through their head on reading the title?

"Black hole sun, won't you come,

and wash away the rain..."

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@Seems to me

I for one welcome our new H2O dwelling overlords.....

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Pffft!

I suspect that Southern Water would still declare a hosepipe ban.

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Joke

"...there's a good chance some of it will coalesce into a star or two ..."

Look, if God can get 'em to light when it's peeing down like that would you mind awfully sending Him round to have a go at my barbeque this weekend?

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Artificial planet formation

Looks like Titan A.E. in action.

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Anonymous Coward

Volume? I think not

"At that light density (300 trillion times less dense than the Earth's atmosphere, we're told)"

"The cloud is huge, containing 140 trillion times the volume of our oceans"

If that were true, the mass of water would be roughly 0.0006 that of our oceans (generously assuming sea-level air density).

The catch is that the word "volume" does not appear in the NASA article ("The water, equivalent to 140 trillion times all the water in the world's ocean") and it must refer to mass not volume.

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Holmes

space mariners

Something odd about this talk of pools, weak tea and hosepipe bans. I'd guess it was vapour, except the stars-to-be, which must have first compressed into snowballs. So, water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.

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Coat

So

I'll get me raincoat, I suppose

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Stop

Anyone got a bag of large nails to hand?

That looks like one very big mountain bike tyre heading this way.

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Anonymous Coward

Water = easy...

..heavy metals? Now they're hard, in more ways than one.

Would be really cool if someone found a moon or large asteroid made of something like uranium. That would require a truly bizzare setup to create it, and numbers that boggle the mind.

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I believe that takes a supernova or a hypernova

Quoting from memory from the Discovery Channel so it could be complete rubbish (Discovery being a stupid person's idea of a clever documentary channel).

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Happy

Uranium? Maybe, but it would have to be U-238.

It couldn't be U-235. The critical mass is only 52 kg. It probably wouldn't explode, but melt and then boil off in vacumn.

What would be cooler (and hence more inprobable) is to have an asteroid made out of Gold. Shinier, better for your bank balance, less likelier to find yourself on Terrorist watch lists, and far, far healthier for you than an asteroid made out of Uranium 238.

There are a few downsides. For example, all your mates are going to sing "GoldFINGERRR!" when you walk into the pub.

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Chances

Dont million to one chances happen 9 times out of 10?

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FAIL

It is steam at -53ºC...

What is the pressure then? I fail physics forever.

er...

1- Water turns to steam at lower temperature when pressure is lower... eg boiling water at Everest is way lower than 100ºC. I remember my teacher turning on a vacuum pump on small amount of water enclosed in a pressure vessel and it boiled before our eyes, at 30ºC.

so...

2-The pressure there is next to nil?

3- The radiation was really cooking anything there? I heard somewhere else that the average temperature of the universe is a few deg. above 0 (zero) K. This cloud is at 220K.

4- Bumping into this thing with a spacecraft going at any decent % of the speed of light would be like sliding, while sitting on your behind without pants, on sand, at 300kph?

5- It is venting as much steam as [insert your favorite politician or reporter here] ?

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Bah!

Observed with which instrument?

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Trollface

Cosmic tea

2 sugars please

- god

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So it's big...

...really big, and we won't believe just how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is?

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Childcatcher

Erm!

"which keeps the quasar going and will do for the foreseeable future". Yeah 12 billion years into the past type future.

That would be OK then.

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Angel

This is either

the ancient star-blinded home of the planet Crikkit

or that of the Emperor Of The Universe

or Both, look out !

Ref: D.Adams

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