back to article 'Tightly bound' stars seen locked in 'diabolic strip waltz'

More news of the stars today: snappers armed with extremely powerful lenses have secured pics of "a very intimate couple", "tightly bound" and "dancing around each other in a diabolic waltz" as the darker, dominant one strips the other. Artist's impression of the X-1 black hole / Wolf-Rayet binary in NGC 300. Credit: ESO …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sooner or later...

    ...someone who is actually called "Boffin" was bound to turn up in one of Lewis' articles, presumably through some weird quasi-gravitational effect.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      New Scientist has a name for this:

      Nominative Determinism (don't write to them, though, they got bored with the whole idea)

  2. Seanmon
    Thumb Up

    Inordinately pleased...

    ...that there is in fact a Dr Boffin working on this. All is well with the world.

  3. Tim Seely 1

    Grinning like a loon....

    A ‘boffin’, called Boffin with a Machiavellian penchant for ballroom dancing… I can go home happy now, the day will unlikely improve any!

  4. Chris Miller


    Of course all other galaxies are a long way away ("You may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts compared to space"), but at 6Mly NGC300 is practically on our doorstep for a large spiral galaxy, less than 3x the distance to Andromeda.

  5. abigsmurf

    Image doesn't seem real

    Given how speccly ultra long range pics tend to be, that's a very detailed image. How much 'enhancing' has been done?

    Also has there actually been any explanation of how black holes are able to project those narrow matter/light streams when they suck up objects of huge mass?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Bah, I thought it was going to be something tasty about BradGelina or somesuch.

    1. Paul 25
      Thumb Up

      That's because it's an artists impression...


      The jets are (probably, everything about black-holes is conjecture) a result of the massive magnetic fields generated by black-holes. Just as the Sun has a powerful and complex magnetic fields, so do black-holes.

      These magnetic fields fling charged particles out along the axis of rotation.

      The magnetic force is several orders of magnitude more powerful than the force of gravity, which seems obvious when you think that a little fridge magnet can overcome the combined gravitational force of the Earth. This is what allows the black hole to force some particles away from it, while consuming others.

    2. LinkOfHyrule

      So did I

      I expecting some sort of celeb sex scandal but with a privacy angle. Instead I got "science" with a "news" angle. Bloody media dumbing UP.

      I 'avant even read the article!

      Angry of Moaningshire :op

    3. Bluewhelk

      CG Image

      The image will be computer generated, you'd never optically resolve anything this small at this distance.

      The data showing how the system is behaving will come from high resolution spectrometer observations showing the doppler shifts of light emitted by the various objects and gasses involved over time. The image will be based on this with a good dollop of artistic license.

      I think the jets are due to the rotation of the black hole 'corkscrewing' its magnetic field lines which then catch some of the inflowing ionised material and accelerate it back out before it reaches the event horizon.

      The event horizon will be relatively small for a solar mass black hole, about a third of the diameter of the sun if I remember correctly.

      1. ravenviz

        Re: event horizon

        A solar mass black hole would have an event horizon diameter of about 3 km.

        I seem to remember calculating at college that an Earth-mass object would have an event horizon of about 5 mm!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Yeah, I only opened the article because of the promise of a lurid pic. Then get a digitally created picture of something that may or may not have looked like this?


  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    looks like the star had a planet, where someone turned on their brand new, black hole creator.. i mean Large Hadron Collider!

  8. Jason Togneri

    @ Image doesn't seem real

    "Given how speccly ultra long range pics tend to be, that's a very detailed image. How much 'enhancing' has been done?"

    Hover over it and you'll see the alt text says "Artist's impression of...". It's quite obviously a rendering done for clarification.

    "Also has there actually been any explanation of how black holes are able to project those narrow matter/light streams when they suck up objects of huge mass?"

    Yes, it's a well-explained phenomena in astrophysics circles. the plume of ejecta isn't from within the black hole itself, it's caused by the funneling effect of a doughnut-shaped ring of cooler gas and dust that surrounds the black hole, and is an artefact of the temperature difference. It would typically move at some million or so miles per hour.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Looks like the star once had a planet, where some clever person switched on the new black hole creator..... i mean, Large Hadron Collider!

  10. JaffaMan

    Image is NOT real

    From common sense I can tell you the image isn't real and is entirely an artists impression. Shame the article fails to mention this!

    If it were real, it would be headline news world over. The first direct image of a black hole! Eating a neighbouring star!!! Emitting jets!!!!! *explodes*

    1. djack

      Check the image hover label

      Although it doesn't say in the article body, the label data associated with the image (displayed when you hover the mouse pointer over it) states that it is an artist's impression, so that fact wasn't /totall/ ignored :)

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Not realistic either.

        I don't think in reality that you would be able to see the ejected particles from the block hole's axis unless you were looking along the axis anyway, certainly not from the side.

        It's definitely an artist's impression.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    "common sense"

    Haha, in the comments section?

  12. Long John Brass Silver badge

    Small companion gobbles larger neighbour

    Isn't this Pic the sort of thing that gets you arrested in Australia?

  13. david wilson


    So, we have a star of 20 solar masses, which is 'whipping around' a black hole that's about one solar mass.

    Isn't that close to 'Earth orbiting Moon' territory?

  14. spezzer


    ...thought this was a strictly cum dancing story :(

  15. Chris007

    any fewl shud know

    it was the Asgard when they collapsed the sun in the solar system of their old home planet (Aurilla) to try and stop the Replicators escaping. It probably went on a galactic smash up after that.

  16. Rich 11 Silver badge

    @david wilson

    The black hole isn't one solar mass, it's just described as being on the same scale as a star's mass. The black hole is estimated to be 16-24 solar masses.

    1. david wilson

      @Rich 11

      So they're basically each orbiting around a point roughly half-way between their centres then, with neither one really going around the other?

  17. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

    'Tightly bound' stars seen locked in 'diabolic strip waltz'

    Doesn't the title make the picture highly illegal extreme porn?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Thank you boffins everywhere!

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