Black Hole found in Milky Way

From the BBC News website:

There is a giant black hole at the centre of our galaxy, a study has confirmed.

German astronomers tracked the movement of 28 stars circling the centre of the Milky Way, using the European Southern Observatory in Chile.

The black hole is four million times heavier than our Sun, according to the paper in The Astrophysical Journal.

You can read more on the BBC site (I cant find any other links about it yet)


Just thought I would highlight an excellent post made on the View from the Edge blog, titled “feeling insignificant yet?

It begins with a quote from Douglas Adams so you know it is probably going to be good 🙂 , and follows up with this:

Carl Sagan used to say the universe contained “billions and billions of stars” and also that if we are the only intelligent life in the universe, then what a ‘tremendous waste of space.” The following pictures are one of the best visual depictions of that I have ever seen, and it shows pretty clearly just how insignificant this little blue orb actually is.

If you have ever wondered how big the Earth is in relation to other planets or stars – check it out. Even if you haven’t check it out anyway 🙂

[tags]Space, stars, planets, Douglas Adams, Carl Sagan, Science, Astronomy, Cosmology, Universe, Scale[/tags]

Interesting Links

It has been a while since I posted some interesting links, so here goes: – visual representation of how the size of the Earth relates to other structures in the universe. The last image shows just how small the things we think are large, really are. – summary of why Linux is better than windows, as if people needed telling 🙂 – how to boot and run linux from a USB drive. – from “Appeals Court Rules Cops Can Steal Cars and Lie to Victims To Conduct a Warrantless Search” – image of the M42 Nebula in Orion. – information about the worlds religions, surprisingly detailed from what I have read so far and (also so far) does not call Atheism a religion 😀 . – “Banned and Challenged Books” – while interesting in that it shows what books have been “challenged” in the past, it also shows what wingnuts think they can get away with. Is 1984 pro-communist for example? – “How to Detect Lies,” another one of those sites which have a little knowledge on a subject. This is one of the better ones, but it is still for entertainment purposes only. Do not rely on any conclusions you draw using the information here.

[tags]Science, Astronomy, Cosmology, Linux, Windows, Technology, Links,Law, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Orion, Nebula, Religion, Books, Body Language, Interrogation, Interview, Philosophy, Culture, Beliefs[/tags]

Two Suns

Midnight Sun 3 - Twin sunsNot much on-line time today, so I will keep it short. Today’s BBC website has an entertaining little article about how “many planets have two suns.”

Star Wars got it right!

The BBC opens with:

The dual suns that rise and set over Luke Skywalker’s homeworld in the film Star Wars may be more than just fantasy, according to data from Nasa.

In a classic scene from the 1977 movie, the hero gazes into the distance as two yellow suns set on the horizon.

Nasa’s Spitzer Space Telescope has found planetary systems are at least as abundant around dual stars as they are around single stars, like our own Sun. (Read Original)

Brilliant. Who would have thought George Lucas would have been so prescient…. Although the BBC (and I presume the article in the Astrophysical Journal) did go on to qualify this: (emphasis mine)

Dr Trilling said that if planets did exist in dusty discs around these binaries, they might be at distances where the conditions could be hospitable for life.

The Luke Skywalker picture is science fiction. But I don’t see anything that’s astronomically incorrect about it,” said the University of Arizona researcher.

“With some of our systems, you could play with the geometry, put a planet there, get the temperatures right and make it look just like [Tatooine].”

Still, I am sure everyone who watched Star Wars (the proper one, not the rubbish new ones) as a child can still hope that one day…

[tags]Science, Astrophysics, Cosmology, Star Wars, Planets, Spitzer, Space, Telescope, NASA, BBC, George Lucas[/tags]