Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Black Hole Mystery Mimicked By Supercomputer

Date:
January 25, 2002
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
Advanced supercomputers have simulated extremely powerful energy jets squirted out by black holes, the most exotic and powerful objects in the Universe.

Advanced supercomputers have simulated extremely powerful energy jets squirted out by black holes, the most exotic and powerful objects in the Universe.

"This research helps us unlock the mysteries of rotating black holes and confirms that their rotation actually produces power output," said Dr. David Meier, an astrophysicist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Meier is co-author of a paper that will appear in the journal Science. The leader of the research team is Dr. Shinji Koide of Toyama University, Toyama, Japan.

A black hole is an object so dense and powerful that nothing, not even light, can escape. A black hole gobbles up stars and other material that approaches it, including other black holes. These odd objects form in one of two ways - when a dying star collapses, or when many stars and black holes collapse together in the center of a galaxy, like our Milky Way.

Both types of black holes can rotate very rapidly, dragging along the space around them. When more material falls in, it swirls and struggles wildly before being swallowed. Astronomers have witnessed this violence, including the ejection of jets, with radio and X-ray observations, but they are not able to see a black hole itself.

"We can't travel to a black hole, and we can't make one in the lab, so we used supercomputers," Meier said. This simulation process is similar to weather-prediction techniques, which create animation of how clouds are expected to move, based on current satellite views and knowledge about Earth's atmosphere and gravity effects. In much the same way, the scientists combined data about plasma swirling into a black hole with knowledge about how gravity and magnetic fields would affect it.

"We have modeled a rotating black hole with magnetized plasma falling into it," said Koide. "We simulated the way that the magnetic field harnesses energy from the rotation of the black hole."

"In this case, jets of pure electromagnetic energy are ejected by the magnetic field along the north and south poles above the black hole," Meier added. "The jets contain energy equivalent to the power of the Sun, multiplied ten billion times and then increased another one billion times."

This jet phenomenon had been predicted by Professor Roger Blandford of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif., and his colleague, Roman Znajek, in the 1970s, but the new computer simulation confirms that prediction. The latest research was conducted in late 2001 using supercomputers at Japan's National Institute for Fusion Science.

Scientists have theorized the existence of black holes since the 1700s and identified jet-producing objects in the centers of galaxies since the early 1900s. In the 1960s, scientists explored the possibility that these jet-emitting objects were supermassive black holes between one million and several billion times heavier than our Sun. In the 1990s, it was discovered that such jets also are ejected by much smaller black holes in double star systems. A black hole ten times as massive as the Sun can form when the center of a dying star, 20 to 30 times the mass of the Sun, collapses on itself. This creates a tiny object, only a few miles across, with an intense gravitational pull. The other supermassive type of black hole is formed when many stars and black holes collapse together in the center of a galaxy.

In addition to Koide and Meier, the team includes colleagues Dr. Kazunari Shibata, Kyoto University, Kyoto, and Dr. Takahiro Kudoh, National Astronomical Observatory, Mitaka. Images of the research are available at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/images/blackholes .

The research was partially funded by an Astrophysics Theory Grant from NASA. The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena manages JPL for NASA.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Black Hole Mystery Mimicked By Supercomputer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 January 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/01/020125074335.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2002, January 25). Black Hole Mystery Mimicked By Supercomputer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/01/020125074335.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Black Hole Mystery Mimicked By Supercomputer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/01/020125074335.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Astronomers Spot Largest, Brightest Solar Flare Ever

Astronomers Spot Largest, Brightest Solar Flare Ever

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — The initial blast from the record-setting explosion would have appeared more than 10,000 times more powerful than any flare ever recorded. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
French Apple Fans Discover the Apple Watch

French Apple Fans Discover the Apple Watch

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) — Apple fans in France discover the latest toy, the Apple Watch. The watch comes in two sizes and an array of interchangeable, fashionable wrist straps. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Water You Drink Might Be Older Than The Sun

The Water You Drink Might Be Older Than The Sun

Newsy (Sep. 27, 2014) — Researchers at the University of Michigan simulated the birth of planets and our sun to determine whether water in the solar system predates the sun. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Woman Cosmonaut in 17 Years Blasts Off for ISS

First Woman Cosmonaut in 17 Years Blasts Off for ISS

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) — A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying an American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts, including the first woman cosmonaut in 17 years, blasted off on schedule Friday. Duration: 00:35 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins