back to article Cold space gas? Sure, supermassive black holes can eat that. Nom, nom, nom

Astronomers working at the Atacama Large Millimetre Array radio telescope in Chile have observed black holes swallowing up cold dense clouds for the first time, according to new research published today in Nature. Although the idea of black holes feeding on cold gas was theoretically predicted it has never been observed, …

Headmaster

Some numbers, please?

My bath water is hot at 40 degrees C, and cold at 20.

What "hot" and "cold" values are we talking about when referring to "space gas"?

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Re: Some numbers, please?

From a quick scan of the article and one of the references, "cold" seems to mean 10-20 K,

and "hot" seems to mean 100-1000 K.

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And another question . . .

"Cold gas raining in . . " sounds like a purely radial flow which makes me wonder what conditions give rise to gas with no angular momentum?

Also, as the gas gets closer to the super-massive black hole presumably it is accelerated and compressed and so becomes 'hot'. So wouldn't any gas actually seen falling into a black hole be hot and, if so, how can anyone know that previously observed infalls weren't cold gas as well (originally). What criteria are being applied here?

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Re: And another question . . .

"Cold gas raining in . . " sounds like a purely radial flow

The speaker is probably someone from the Outer Hebrides, where any angle between 30 and 80 degrees from vertical is called 'raining in', and between 80 and horizontal is 'swept'. There's no term for less than 30, for obvious reasons.

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This post has been deleted by its author

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Stop

You can NOT peer through the ALMA telescope.

ALMA consists of 66 mirrors of 8.2 meter diameter working as one interferometer at (sub)millimeter wavelengths. The 66 heterodyne receivers operate at 4K (-269 °C). ALMA is located at the uninhabitable Chilian Atacama desert at 5000 meters above sealevel. The operations Support Facility (OSF) where the primary observations are done, is located at 2,900 meters.

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ummmm

something you cant see eats something you cant see......no news day?

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Alien

Re: ummmm

But they know that the something it eats is cold... and probably not a day old bacon sarnie.

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Re: ummmm

But they know that the something it eats is cold

My guess is "revenge".

Or gazpacho, but probably revenge.

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Re: ummmm

More like:

Something that eats EVERYTHING shocks scientists by eating something.

I mean seriously, nothing escapes from a black hole it even "eats" light, but for some reason it's terribly surprising that some gas got gobbled?

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Joke

And now we have a general idea...

of exactly how "Black Hole Sun" comes to "wash away the rain."

I just love it when science explains song lyrics, don't you?

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Re: And now we have a general idea...

That's precisely what happens when your parents are hippies.

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Mushroom

Rain?

If a liquid comes to hit you with a speed of about a million kilometres per hour, do you still call it rain? Sounds more like a wet dream for DARPA.

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Or

Bob Dylan.

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Windows

The question is of course:

If the black hole is sucking in all this cold gas, how long before the terrorist can hit the button and make it go boom in the middle of the crowded street?

<This question brought to you by the NSA/CIA/CGHQ and the guardian>

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a black hole weather event which they call “cold rain” coming from the cold dense clouds above.

For some reason I find myself thinking of Manchester in late autumn.

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Wow

> three massive clumps of cold gas flowing toward the supermassive black hole at a speed of about a million kilometres per hour. Each cloud contains as much material as a million Suns and is roughly the size of tens of light-years across, and were observed by the billion-light-year-long "shadows", they cast on earth.

Sometimes it just has to be said... Space is just mad.

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