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Black Holes and Star formation

4 February 2012

There has been a lot of speculation recently on what black holes actually do and the consensus seems to be moving towards the idea the stars may form out of black holes. We begin with an image from the Hubble Space Telescope (see www.physorg.com/print247478317.html ) which shows a filament of ionised gas found near some newly formed stars. The 'unseen' black hole is to the right of the image – but you can't see it. Indeed, the centre of almost every galaxy is thought to harbour a black hole as they are thought to account for gravitational pulls that disrupt visible material around them. Until recently black holes were considered to hinder the birth of stars – now some astronomers have turned this idea on its head. What they seem to be saying is energy switching on and off coincides with an outflow, sometimes in plumes that stretch for millions of light years – but is that a black hole?

At www.physorg.com/print247478467.html an Irish astronomer currently working in the US is studying the fleeting blips of radio emissions from space, in particular what are known as 'radio transients'. These are generated by exploding stars, gamma ray bursts, and stars coming too close to 'black holes' (here we go again). Radio pulses from exoplanets would indicate a magnetic field – now thought to be essential for life.

Elsewhere, at www.sciencenow.org/view/generic/id/338067/title/FOR_KIDS_Mapping_the_inv… … as the url shows it is a post to educate children – in this case on maps of the universe. These maps, it says, show where dark matter, giant blobs of 'invisible' stuff, inhabits. Dark matter forms in giant clusters and long strings – it 'hides' everywhere throughout the universe = but you'll never see it no matter how hard you look.

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