back to article Event Horizon Telescope spots source of black hole jets

A set of linked radio-telescopes across Hawaii, Arizona and California has given scientists a close-up of the accretion disk of a distant supermassive black hole The linked dishes, dubbed the Event Horizon Telescope, grabbed the fine details of a supermassive black hole in the M87 galaxy, some 50 million light-years distant, …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Schwartzschild radius

    Schwartzschild not Schwartzchild.

    Just sayin'.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. ravenviz
        Boffin

        Re: Schwartzschild radius

        Er, or German astronomer Karl Schwarzschild.

  2. Paul A. Walker
    Coat

    The most powerful force in the universe - the Schwartz!

    1. K
      Trollface

      Wow..

      You also found 1 in a xmas cracker?

    2. Ged T
      Happy

      May the Schwartz be with you!

      Merch-an-die-zing, Merch-an-die-zing....

    3. ravenviz
      Joke

      I thought that was Chuck Norris!

  3. Silverburn
    Unhappy

    Universe = depressingly vast

    At 50 millions years, even if we *could" travel at 10 x 'c' as NASA would like, it would still take us 5 million years to get there and see this with our own eyes.

    Note to NASA: 10 x c (or equivalent) will not be enough...space/time dimensional tunnelling required methinks...

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Universe = depressingly vast

      Er, makes no odds.

      Even if we could get there instantly we still wouldn't get to see this with our own eyes. We'd get to see what it looks like 50 million years later.

      1. ravenviz
        Trollface

        Re: Universe = depressingly vast

        I'll just let the light come to me, thanks.

    2. Yesnomaybe

      Re: Universe = depressingly vast

      You wouldn't want to see it up-close. The flaking paint, and rubbish would detract from the experience. Better to see it from afar.

      (Oh, and the radiation would be inconvenient too)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Universe = depressingly vast

      No, it's a very good thing that the Universe is so vast because it means that our violent species probably won't be able to rape and pillage and poison too many other civilisations and planets in the future.

      1. MacroRodent Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: Universe = depressingly vast

        "... it means that our violent species probably won't be able to rape and pillage and poison too many other civilisations ..."

        And vice-versa... Like us, the Klingons, Vogons, etc can only stare at the stars (ours included) in frustration.

      2. itzman

        Re: Universe = depressingly vast

        Isn't raping and pillaging pretty much as universal as Gravity?

      3. Kubla Cant Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Universe = depressingly vast

        @Frank 14: pillage and poison, maybe. But interplanetary rape? That sounds like a physical impossibility, or at least a minority taste.

        "These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise, its five-year mission, to boldly rape and pillage and poison..."

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Coat

          Re: Universe = depressingly vast

          ""These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise, its five-year mission, to boldly rape and pillage and poison.."

          That of course would be the parallel universe version in Enterprise where in a reconstruction of the Vulcan first contact the humans put a couple in the survey team leaders head and take over the ship.

          1. Nigel 11
            Thumb Up

            Re: Universe = depressingly vast

            Best argument against the strong anthropic principle I know.

            It wasn't built for us. It was built for creatures that live s...l...o...w...ly. One thought per day rather than one per second, and a life-expectancy scaled similarly.

            They might even be living in this solar system ... the slow cold parts thereof. Wild speculation, might what we call a comet be what they call bidding a final farewell to a deceased loved one? Tip the ashes down the gravity well?

        2. BorkedAgain
          Alien

          Re: Universe = depressingly vast - @ Kubla Cant

          Planetary rape - cue charming mental image of a BEM walking down the ramp of his flying saucer with a slender trowel in one hand and a determined look in his eye...

    4. Steve T
      Thumb Down

      Re: Universe = depressingly vast

      I guess this means you'd have to travel for 8 minutes at the speed of light to be able to see the sun "with your own eyes".

      My eyes have a nice see-at-a-distance feature, which I thought was common place.

      1. Spoonsinger

        Re: My eyes have a nice see-at-a-distance feature

        Shirely your eyes have a nice see into the past feature with variable resolution depending on how much you squint?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Event Horizon

    Liberate Tutemet Ex Inferis...

    1. Thomas 4

      Re: Event Horizon

      Yeah, demons and possessed space ships are pretty scary but I wouldn't rate their chances against a force that gobbles up stars like mint Poppets.

    2. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Sorry

      It's just not the same without the bad makeup.

  5. MJI Silver badge

    My first thoughts were

    Hell

  6. James 36

    blah

    Always find the fact the stuff escapes from a black hole (ie the jets) confusing

    1. Simon Watson

      Re: blah

      The jets escape because they never cross the event horizon. It's possible for anything outside the event horizon to get free if accelerated hard enough. Everything inside is screwed. The extreme heating of the disc powers the jets.

      1. Spoonsinger
        Happy

        Re: blah

        Increase power to maximum. We are going THROUGH!

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: blah

      Black Holes are messier eaters than Cookie Monster.

      Om nom nom nom nom

      1. SD24576

        Re: blah

        Nice pun woven in there!

    3. Nigel 11
      Boffin

      Re: blah

      Always find the fact the stuff escapes from a black hole (ie the jets) confusing

      It doesn't escape. The jets are the stuff that avoids falling into the black hole, after getting close enough to be generally shredded, vaporized, and heated to incredibly high temperatures by the rest of the stuff whirling around that does ultimately fall in.

      It's a bit like dust trying to escape a Dyson vacuum cleaner. Very little does. The only way it can, is to go dead straight up the axis of rotation of the vertex.

  7. lukewarmdog
    Coat

    black hole engineer

    I believe someone from British Gas phoned ahead to fix it but they wont hear back about whether anyone is in for quite some time..

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Event Horizon

    where we're going you don't need eyes!

    *also there are no pasty shops :-(

  9. Ru
    Boffin

    "isn’t the radius of a black hole possibly infinite?"

    Well, it depends what you're measuring, innit? You might have difficulty running your tapemeasure along a spacetime geodesic into an actual singularity with infinite curvature and all that, but you can clearly see from flattish space outside that the event horizon of a black hole encloses a finite spherical region of space which would obviously have a finite geometric radius.

    I Am Not A Hypergeometrician, of course.

  10. bag o' spanners

    Are we there yet?

  11. mfritz0
    Happy

    Falling into a black hole.

    As you accelerate to the escape velocity of a black hole which would be greater than C, you would enter into the dimension of time and all eternity would have to pass by before even one atom of your existence could penetrate the event horizon. Do the math.

    1. Fred 4

      Re: Falling into a black hole.

      >Do the math

      That is fairly difficult math, as most calculations involving black holes resolve to various infinities...

      >you would enter into the dimension of time and all eternity would have to pass by before even one atom of your existence could penetrate the event horizon.

      This is not entirely true.

      Black holes evaporate. Hawking radiation.

      Depending on the size of the black hole, the time to complete evaporation might be a week or two, or 10^1000 years, this time scales according to the cubed mass of the black hole. :)

      But, the black hole can evaporate. When/as it does 'you' would not exit, but particles which might have been you could. However, as far as we can tell there is no way to know for sure as the information seems to be lost.

      For reference <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawking_radiation>

      and for the math adverse, I apologize, have an ale or 3.

      1. Gordon 11

        Re: Falling into a black hole.

        When/as it does 'you' would not exit, but particles which might have been you could.

        You can't tag particles. There is no such thing as an atom that was you. There's a probability function.

        Put two electrons at opposite ends of an otherwise empty container. Wait a very small time. You find two electrons at opposite ends of the box - but there is nothing to say they are still the same way round. It's not that they could have swapped - just that the idea of labeling them to determine whether they have swapped or not makes no sense/has no meaning.

        1. BristolBachelor Gold badge
          Joke

          @Gorddon 11

          But didn't I read somewhere that the individual bits (the wave interference patterns that makes stuff like matter) have a memory of everything that it's been in contact with? So dif you therefore dilute it in an infinite amount of water, it will cure any ill (as long as it's sold with a high enough price).

          OK I'll crawl back under my rock.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Pint

      Do the math ... it's not so complex

      Falling Into and Hovering Near A Black Hole

      The key point is that if an object goes to the left [inwards to the event horizon], it crosses every single one of the analytically continued timeslice of the outside observers, all the way to their future infinity. Hence those distant observers can always regard the object as not quite reaching the event horizon (the vertical boundary on the left side of [the] schematic). At any one of those slices the object could, in principle, reverse course and climb back out to the outside observers, which it would reach some time between now and future infinity. However, this doesn't mean that the object can never cross the event horizon. It simply means that its worldline is present in every one of the outside timeslices. In the direction it is traveling, those time slices are compressed infinitely close together, so the in-falling object can get through them all in finite proper time (i.e., its own local time along the worldline falling to the left in the above schematic).

  12. Mips
    Childcatcher

    Bootnote

    No not infinite but impossible to measure because the tools you use keep stretching as you try to use them.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Bootnote

      Of course not. You don't use "tools". You integrate, with the metric tensor giving the "local distance at each point".

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