Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Baby Black Hole Found Are You Elder Than a Cosmic Monster?

Just 50 million light-years away there's a black hole that may come into view younger than you. This week astronomers publicize the discovery of the youngest black hole yet spotted the light we're seeing today came from the black hole when the object was about 30 years old. The find is giving scientists a first peep into the early development of these cosmic predators.

It's thought most black holes are born when massive stars go supernova, leaving behind ultradense cores that either form small but extremely massive neutron stars or fall down into black holes. Although new supernovae are being discovered across the universe almost every week, seeing any newborn black holes can be difficult.

By definition, black holes are so opaque that not even light can escape their gravitational pulls. The only way we can see the objects is to catch them collecting a surrounding disk of in falling material and the newfound baby black hole appears to be undergoing this process.

"This may be the first time the common way of creation a black hole has been observed," study co-author Avi Loeb, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said in a statement.
"However, it is very hard to detect this type of black hole birth, because decades of x-ray observations are needed to make the contai