Connect with us

Popular Science

2019: Year of the Black Hole

2019 was a big year for astronomy. Voyager 2 entered interstellar space, a Japanese robot landed on an asteroid, and a Chinese spacecraft became the first-ever to touch down on the far side of the moon. But 2019 will be best remembered as the year of the black hole. Learn more: SUBSCRIBE! for more Popular…

Published

on

2019 was a big year for astronomy. Voyager 2 entered interstellar space, a Japanese robot landed on an asteroid, and a Chinese spacecraft became the first-ever to touch down on the far side of the moon. But 2019 will be best remembered as the year of the black hole.

Learn more:

SUBSCRIBE! for more Popular Science on YouTube ►►

Producer/Video by: Jason Lederman

Narrator: Jessica Boddy

Researchers: Neel V. Patel, Charlie Wood

Cameras:
Canon EOS C100 –
Canon EOS 5D Mark III –

Additional equipment:
Canon EF50mm Lens –
Canon Zoom Lens EF24-105mm –
Sachtler Ace XL Tripod System –
Sennheiser EW100ENG G3 Camera Wireless Mic Kit –
Litepanels Astra E 1×1 Daylight LED Panel –
Lowepro Magnum 650 AW Shoulder Bag –
The North Face Base Camp Duffel –

Music: APM Music

Media: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993) CBS, Interstellar (2014) Paramount Pictures, NASA, JAXA, CSNA, ESO, LIGO,
EHT Collaboration, Wikimedia Commons, Pixabay, Pexels

CC BY 4.0:


GET MORE POPULAR SCIENCE

E-mail newsletter:

Facebook:

Twitter:

Instagram:

Flipboard:

Podcasts:

#blackhole #blackholes #2019 #astronomy #science #outerspace #space #eht #eventhorizon #eventhorizontelescope #telescope #einstein #alberteinstein

2019 was a big year for astronomy.

We learned what Voyager 2 is seeing in interstellar
space, a Japanese robot landed on an asteroid,

and a Chinese spacecraft became the first-ever
to touch down on the far side of the moon.

But 2019 will be best remembered as the year
of the black hole

…and no, that’s not a metaphor.

On April 10th, the internet lit up with the
first-ever direct image of a black hole,

specifically Messier 87, a supermassive
black hole 55 million light years away.

To capture the image, researchers used the
Event Horizon Telescope,

an eight-telescope project designed
exactly for that purpose.

The EHT doesn’t take photos like a traditional
camera would—instead, all eight telescopes

sync up to look at the radiation given off
by black holes.

There’s a lot going on in this image of
M87.

You can see the photon sphere, the accretion
disk, and the event horizon, the visible point

of no return where nothing can escape the
black hole’s gravitational force.

Being able to see and study black holes in
this way will let us test scientific theories

like Einstein’s general relativity, which
dictates how things move through space.

Using the EHT, we can watch how gravity-driven
warps in spacetime impact how light travels.

Plus, it proved that this technology actually
works and it can be used again.

The picture of M87 is a compilation of data
captured over four days in 2017.

It took more than two years to process, partially
because of the enormous size of the files—

the image is made up of more than 5,000 terabytes
of data.

That sheer size of the information meant the
files couldn’t be transferred digitally—

physical hard drives had to be taken from
the observatories to the scientists.

In fact, the dataset in Antarctica took months
to retrieve because of bad weather.

Though the image is an incredible accomplishment,
it lacks sharpness in part because it had

to be compressed a million times over.

However, advances in technology, like using
additional telescopes and new algorithms,

may help to speed up the process and sharpen
future images.

Next, you may remember the name LIGO.

It stands for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave
Observatory.

Three years ago, it observed ripples in spacetime
called “gravitational waves”—

the same ones Einstein predicted.

Those ripples were caused by two black holes
merging, which produced a signature “chirp” sound.

Fast-forward to 2019—just weeks after that
picture of M87 was released—and LIGO may

have witnessed signs of a black hole slamming
into a neutron star.

That’s something scientists were never sure
was even possible.

Here’s what happened.

On April 25th and 26th, LIGO, as well as Italy’s
Virgo interferometer, detected two sets of

gravitational waves.

The latter seemed to come from a rare black
hole-neutron star merger.

The collision probably happened about 1.2
billion light-years away, but that’s almost

all we know about it.

The team is still studying the results, and
if the event is confirmed, it could start

a whole new field of astrophysics.

Before the year could come to a close, black holes managed to

sneak into the news one more time in October.

We’ve all heard of a wormhole—the mainstay
of Star Trek and other sci-fi that can transport

a ship millions of light years in a fraction
of a second.

They could exist under Einstein’s theory
of gravity, but only black holes have the

oomph required to actually sculpt one.

The difference between the two is that a black
hole simply crushes any matter that gets sucked

into its gravitational pull; a wormhole is
like a tunnel, with a destination on either

side that can be traveled between.

And if we thought we found a wormhole, we
could test it by sending a probe through.

But—unlike the film Interstellar—it would take millenia
for any spacecraft to reach the nearest candidates.

So, instead, two theoretical physicists from China and
the U.S. have been conducting a thought experiment.

They worked within the framework of Einstein’s
laws of gravity to figure out if it’s even

possible for a big, stable wormhole to exist.

Their conclusion: it could happen, but only
if the hole is kept open by the force driving

the expansion of the universe.

So, how do you discover a wormhole without
actually going there?

You need to look at the stars orbiting it.

In fact, the duo previously hypothesized that
stars circling a wormhole would wiggle in

a very specific way—a dance, if you will.

That’s because unlike a black hole, a wormhole
could have something on the other side,

causing a slight gravitational pull on the stars on
the other end.

Now, they are exploring what the effects would
be like—and looking for dancing—on a specific

star called S2, which orbits Sagittarius A*,
the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy.

But don’t get too excited, remember this
is all theoretical.

Despite decades of advancements in the field
of astrophysics, our tools and data still

aren’t precise enough to measure such movements.

In fact, they’d need to be 100 times more
precise—a goal the team believe experiments

should reach in the coming decades.

Once that happens, we’ll be able to see
if S2 is dancing or not.

For now, all we can do is wait.

What will 2020 be the year of?

Funghi?

Coral reefs?

Something else?

Let us know in the comments below.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Henky Mizella

    December 20, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    *EXIST The P.S!

  2. latoya banks

    December 20, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    Fascinating,TFS🤯

  3. Jessica Boddy

    December 20, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    my favorite part is when Einstein gets yeeted into the black hole

    • Jabes Medeiros

      July 4, 2020 at 6:55 pm

      Well… Surely, when you made the last question, no one would imagine that this year would be the year of a virus! Saddly indeed… How a so tiny protein can put this so scientific and civilized world on to its knees. Nevertheless, congrats for your presentation on black holes! Very clear and intriguing at the same time!! Regards from Chile!! 😊😊

  4. Jess Boddy (WT producer)

    December 20, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    my favorite part is when Einstein gets yeeted into the black hole

  5. Ajinkya Gadgil

    December 25, 2019 at 2:50 pm

    These scientist are patting their backs for that blurry image? Boy!

  6. Karen Peteros

    December 28, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    Love your videos but you should just have pictures/video of the subjects of the narration. Video of the narrator while narrating is unnecessary, distracting and irritating.

  7. Zetiva

    January 7, 2020 at 10:01 pm

    What will 2020 be the year of?
    WWIII and absolutely massive Australian bush fires

    • Slamz Dunk

      March 28, 2020 at 12:38 am

      I think we have our answer.

    • User Name

      April 23, 2020 at 7:05 pm

      2020: the year of toilet paper, hand sanitizer and Personal Protection Equipment shortages.

    • Kirstin Billard

      April 23, 2020 at 7:05 pm

      2020: the year of toilet paper, hand sanitizer and Personal Protection Equipment shortages.

  8. Gears of Creativity

    January 29, 2020 at 3:44 pm

    The title sounds very wrong.

  9. Huzaifa Hashmi

    March 13, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    Hi could i use your information on my fb page “Innovations of Candescent Engineers” I do declare in my posts that i took this information from your website

    if you mind then plz tell me

  10. Sumit Dubey

    March 17, 2020 at 9:33 am

    Watching your video from India🇮🇳.

  11. Seema Dubey

    March 17, 2020 at 9:33 am

    Watching your video from India🇮🇳.

  12. Clendan Charlemagne

    March 18, 2020 at 11:33 pm

    She kinda looks like shes probably happy about dying

  13. Clendan Charlemagne

    March 18, 2020 at 11:34 pm

    Plus why are u gonna study it if it might kill us

  14. Clendan Charlemagne

    March 18, 2020 at 11:36 pm

    Your not just gonna stay there studying while the earth is gonna be destroyed by the black hole😂😂😂😂

  15. Bruin314

    April 7, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    What will 2020 be? Ha. Now we know *cough* corona *cough*

  16. daun daun

    May 1, 2020 at 5:05 pm

    just sharing:

  17. Michael Hultzapple

    August 2, 2020 at 9:34 am

    Coronavirus. That’s what 2020 has been about. Ugh

  18. Scott Concertman

    December 26, 2020 at 12:17 pm

    I think 2020 will be year of a novel virus since were already two years overdue.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Popular Science

What happens to your body when you die in space?

NASA isn’t sure what to do with corpses in space, but they may need to figure it out soon. Of the more than 550 people we’ve sent into the cosmos, just 21 have died—and only 3 actually above the boundary between Earth and space—since humankind first took to strapping ourselves to rockets. When there have…

Published

on

NASA isn’t sure what to do with corpses in space, but they may need to figure it out soon.

Of the more than 550 people we’ve sent into the cosmos, just 21 have died—and only 3 actually above the boundary between Earth and space—since humankind first took to strapping ourselves to rockets. When there have been fatalities, the entire crew has been lost, leaving no one to rescue. But as we move closer to a human mission to Mars, there’s a higher likelihood that individuals could be stranded or even perish—whether that’s on the way, while living in harsh environments, or at some other point of the mission.

**Correction: April 15, 2021
The video misstates the distance from Earth to the Moon. It is 250,000 miles, not 250 miles.**

► DO YOU LOVE DOGS? WHAT ABOUT SPACE? Watch our video about Laika, our hero ​

► HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED how an eclipse happens?

► 24 OF THE MOST FAMOUS SPACE LAUNCHES EVER

► THE MOLE CHANGED. And now new discoveries throughout space and time are possible

► FIND OUT MORE about this episode by reading the article

► SUBSCRIBE! to Popular Science on YouTube

***
About Ask Us Anything
Popular Science answers your most outlandish, mind-burning questions—from what the universe is made of to why not everyone can touch their toes.

Media
Assignment: Outer Space (1960), Canadian Space Agency, Destination Earth (1956), European Space Agency, Galaxy Science Fiction, NASA/JPL, Prelinger Archives, Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, U.S. National Archives

Music
APM

#AskUsAnything #whathappenstoyourbodyifyoudieinspace #PopularScience #space #PopSci #science #space #spacex #nasa #nasaperseverance #nasaspaceflight #spacehistory #spacevideos #whathappenstoyourbodyifyoudieinspace #whathappenstoyourbodywhenyoudie #askusanything #astronaut #spacewalk #apollo11 #moonlanding #apollo11launch #elonmusk #cosmos #vintagespace #spacearchive #mars #marsroverlanding #marsrover #curiosityrover #perseverancerover #spacetravel #deepspace #shuttlelaunch #buzzaldrin #neilarmstrong #chrishadfield

– [Narrator] On July 21st, 1969,

the Apollo 11 lunar landing crew.

– That’s one small step for man.

– [Narrator] Was due to
depart the moon’s surface

after a 22 hour visit.

– One giant leap for mankind.

– [Narrator] A speech had been prepared

for President Richard Nixon titled,

“In the Event of Moon Disaster,”

it read, “Fate has ordained that the men

who went to the moon to explore in peace

will stay on the moon to rest peace”

Said another way, marooned, stranded

because landing on the moon was one thing,

(gentle music)

getting off was something else entirely.

Would Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong

live out the rest of their days

staring at the blue glow of
Earth from 250,000 miles away?

And what if they did?

(gentle music)

Of the more than 550 people
we’ve sent into the cosmos,

just 21 have died

and only 3 actually above the boundary

between Earth and space

since humankind first took

to strapping ourselves to rockets.

When there have been fatalities,

the entire crew has been lost,

leaving no one to rescue.

But as we move closer to
a human mission to Mars,

there’s a higher likelihood

that individuals could be
stranded or even perish

whether that’s on the way,

while living in harsh environments,

or at some other point of the mission.

The International Space Station

is one place to look to as a model.

A death among that crew

would likely result from an
accident during a spacewalk.

Maybe suddenly you get
hit by a micrometeorite,

then there’s a hole in your suit.

Well, this hypothetical astronaut

would only have about 15 seconds

until they lost consciousness.

Before they froze, they
would most likely die

from asphyxiation or decompression.

10 seconds of exposure
to the vacuum of space

would force the water in their
skin and blood to vaporize,

while their body expanded
outward like a balloon.

Their lungs would collapse,

and after 30 seconds
they would be paralyzed

if they weren’t already dead.

A corpse in space presents
some major logistical problems.

The fact that a dead body is a biohazard

is definitely the biggest concern,

and finding the space to
store it in is a close second.

The crew of the ISS already stores trash

in the coldest spot on the station;

it keeps the bacteria away and
makes smell less of an issue.

For this reason, a dead astronaut
would likely be held here

or an airlock until a seat was available

on a return trip to Earth.

What if you’re millions
of miles from anywhere,

en route to Mars,

and storage of a deceased
astronaut isn’t an option?

In theory, you could
always jettison them out

on a forever path into the void, right?

One problem of physics though,

unless a mini rocket was
strapped to the body,

they would end up following the trajectory

of the spacecraft.

As the years went on and
the bodies accumulated,

that would make for a morbid trip.

But the risks of dying along the way

are nothing compared to
dying once you get there.

In promoting his own future
space settlement plans,

SpaceX’s Elon Musk has
openly cautioned that, quote,

“If you want to go to
Mars, prepare to die.”

Which begs the question,

if lives are lost on the Red Planet,

where do you put the bodies?

Could they just be buried there?

That makes sense because
of the long journey back,

but it poses potential
contamination problems.

Even the Mars rovers are required by law

not to bring Earth microbes
to their new planet.

Spacecraft are repeatedly
cleaned and sanitized

before launch to help prevent
potentially habitable locales

from being overtaken by
intrepid microorganisms.

But the bugs on a rover are nothing

compared to the bacteria
hitching a ride on a dead body.

So, if a Martian burial were to happen,

it would have to require cremation.

(gentle music)

NASA never officially
published a contingency plan

for the Apollo moon-walkers in 1969,

but they were prepared to lose the crew.

If things went sideways,

they planned to shut down communication

with the stranded astronauts

and issue them a formal burial at sea.

In reality, starvation
or, unfortunately, suicide

would have been the cause of death.

But even given that morbid
hypothetical turn of events,

everyone knew we would keep trying.

Quote, “Others will follow, and
surely find their way home.”

Nixon’s back-up speech read.

“Man’s search will not be denied.

But these men were the first,

and they will remain the
foremost in our hearts.”

As for future Mars missions,

climbing Mount Everest provides
the perfect Earthly analogy,

more than 200 bodies
lay across the mountain,

some of them still visible on
days when snow cover is light.

Everyone who climbs past is reminded

that they’re risking their lives.

Indeed, going to Mars is a risk.

But, that’s part of exploring space.

(gentle music)

Continue Reading

Popular Science

What Makes an ‘Ultra High Performance’ Tire? These 3 Things

What makes an ‘Ultra High Performance’ tire? Popular Science finds out by testing Continental’s new ExtremeContact DWS06 Plus. Video presented by Continental. ► LEARN MORE about how tires work in winter: ► SUBSCRIBE! to Popular Science on YouTube: #Continental #ExtremeContactDWS06Plus #highperformance #science #engineering #tire #ContinentalTire #howtireswork #cars #trucks #suv #gripperformance #trackingstability #traction #breaking #howtireswork #howstuffworks…

Published

on

What makes an ‘Ultra High Performance’ tire? Popular Science finds out by testing Continental’s new ExtremeContact DWS06 Plus.

Video presented by Continental.

► LEARN MORE about how tires work in winter:

► SUBSCRIBE! to Popular Science on YouTube:

#Continental #ExtremeContactDWS06Plus #highperformance #science #engineering #tire #ContinentalTire #howtireswork #cars #trucks #suv #gripperformance #trackingstability #traction #breaking #howtireswork #howstuffworks #Sponsored #ContinentalTire #wetroad #newtire #gripperformance #trackingstability #traction #breaking #steering #ultrahighperformance #allseasontires #optimumgrip #sportplustechnology #xsipes #forcevectoring #brakingdistance #tirerubber #performance #tiretechnology

Continue Reading

Popular Science

Get a grip: the science of how tires work in winter

What keeps the tire’s rubber on the road when the weather becomes most foul, the temperature drops, and rain turns to sleet and then snow? A good winter tire requires these three things. Video presented by Continental. ► LEARN MORE about how tires work in winter: ► SUBSCRIBE! to Popular Science on YouTube: #Continental #VikingContact7…

Published

on

What keeps the tire’s rubber on the road when the weather becomes most foul, the temperature drops, and rain turns to sleet and then snow? A good winter tire requires these three things.

Video presented by Continental.

► LEARN MORE about how tires work in winter:

► SUBSCRIBE! to Popular Science on YouTube:

#Continental #VikingContact7 #wintertire #science #engineering #tire #ContinentalTire #howtireswork #cars #trucks #suv #gripperformance #trackingstability #traction #breaking

Continue Reading

Trending