I am a devout life long Christian yet I have for most of my adult life debated how Christians (for the most part) are so oblivious to reality and to the Truths that are shown us in the Bible. So many people who believe in the Bible as the Holy Spirit Inspired Word Of God (as I also do) tend to read the Bible with ‘Church Doctrine’ blinders on. Back in the time of the Apostles and the time that Jesus walked the Earth when they taught in the Synagogues the people studied the Scriptures to see if what they were being taught was the truth or not. Just because your Preacher or a Church Elder, Bishop, or if you are Catholic, even the Pope, tells you something it is your Christian obligation to search out the Scriptures to see if what you are being told is Biblical truth.
Reality is that the ignorance of Christians/Churches have convinced millions if not billions of people throughout history to turn their backs on the Jewish and the Christian faith. Right from the very first book of the Bible (Genesis) Christians and Jews do not understand what we are so plainly being told. Yes the world and all in it were created in six days, but those six days are not, were not, human days, they were God’s days. I nor any other human knows what one of God’s days represent compared to a human day but Scripture tells us over and over again that God’s days are not our days yet humans keep trying to make that be so anyway. Even in our own solar system every single planet that circles the sun has a different amount of our hours in one of their days. Some will, through their ego’s say, well why didn’t Moses just lay it all our for us so we could know exactly everything? Folks, almost all of the humans that were alive about 3,600-3,700 human years ago calculated time through their own ancestors which normally only traversed back 3, 4, or 5 generations at best. Do you honestly think if Moses had started teaching them of thinks that happened 3 or 4 billion years ago that these people would have listened to him? What if Moses had started laying out the lineage of Dinosaurs, what do you think they would have done? My guess is that the people would have shunned him for being a crazy man.
Most all of us know some about the story of Adam and Eve from the first two chapters of Genesis but my question to everyone is, just how well have you read it? Have you just taken the word of the Church you attend as to what the Scripture actually is telling us all? Please reread the first two chapters. If you will notice in the first chapter Adam was created but before His creation God created ‘men and women, and, God created He them’. After God had created multiple ‘men and women’ God created Adam. Now in the first chapter, after God did all of His creating of those ‘Six Days’, God rested from His work on the 7th day. Then after all His work was done and He had created the first group of people (the Gentiles) and Adam, then in chapter #2 God then created Eve to be a help mate for Adam. Folks, the ‘promised one, the Messiah, Jesus The Christ’ lineage is traced back through the ‘Royal Blood Line’ to Adam, actually to Eve. There were two human creations, the gentiles, and the Royal Blood Line of Adam. Adam and Eve were about 5,500 human years ago yet humans were on this planet many thousands of years before this time. Jesus Himself referred to us Gentiles as “people before this time whom were not a people”. Jesus was pointing out that before His time here on Earth, before His Resurrection that salvation was only to the Jews and to no one else. So, people who were not a people, Gentiles! These are simple truths laid out in writing for us all to see yet we choose to remain blind. Think about a few things we are told here in the beginning of Genesis. After Cain had murdered his brother Able God banished Cain to the East of Eden in the land of Nod. God put a mark on the forehead of Cain so that “all who find him would not kill him”, folks, all of who? There were only 3 people left on the planet right, just Cain, his Mom Eve and his Dad Adam, so all of whom? Then after Cain had been banished he took a wife, wait a minute, where did she come from? Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible/Torah through the guidance of God’s Spirit, whom we tend to call the Holy Spirit from the New Testament. The Truth of the Scriptures are right before our eyes, but we have been trained not to see the real Truth. We have been taught Church doctrines instead which has run many millions of people away from God’s teachings.
If Moses had told the people of his time that the world was about 4-5 billion years old and that the planet we call Earth had started with a big interstellar bang what do you think the people would have done to him? At the very least they would have thought him to be crazy and no one would have paid him any mind. To my Christian and Jewish brothers, yes there were such things as dinosaurs and there has been life on this planet for several hundred millions of human years. I did not say that there has been human life here on Earth for hundreds of millions of our years, just life itself. God does not want us to be ignorant for ignorance begets death, physical and spiritual. Science has pretty much discovered/proven that human life has been on this planet for hundreds of thousands of years, not just the 5,000-5,500 years since Adam and Eve. I am not an archaeologist even though I am a huge fan of history. I know that science has been looking for the so-called ‘missing link’ between Primates and Humans for longer than I have been alive. This is like trying to find that pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, it doesn’t exist folks.
Evolution, is there such a thing? Of course there is folks. As an example I would like to use the people science calls Neanderthals. For most of my life time scientist have wondered what happened to them, why did they go extinct? Just like the people before them who bred with them the same thing happened to them, they were bred out of existence. You can breed cattle with buffalo and you get what is called beefalo. You can take oranges and breed them with tangerines and you get a product called tangelos. In Scripture the ‘House of Israel’ was forbidden to mix blood with any of the Gentiles, if they did then they were counted as not being pure. Humans did not crawl up out of the oceans and even though we have many of the same molecules of other creatures we did not derive from them and they did not derive from us. Today science can create a form of a human being through cloning and some would call this evolution, that we have evolved into a more pure condition but they are ignorant of reality. Science can play God, but they are not God. Just as if I could make an android and give it a human name like George, George is still not a human. The difference in these two creations of science and a real human being is that science can not create ‘a Soul’. It is the Soul that makes the conscientiousness that makes one human and only God can create the Soul. Is there such a thing as evolution, of course there is, just not to the extent that some scientist believe and or are trying to find or create.
Science has some things wrong, yet they do have many things correct. Churches have many things correct, yet they have many things wrong. It is the job of the Churches to teach the whole Truth but first the Churches must open their eyes to what the Scriptures actually say and to forget about ‘Church doctrines’. The Earth is a special place for it is designated to be “God’s Footstool”. Earth is where Jesus will reign from once the New Jerusalem comes down from Heaven to replace the current city of Jerusalem once it has been totally destroyed after the Second Advent. Now, Christians, wake up to reality about other planets. Do you honestly think that if God is the Creator of all things in the Heavens and on the Earth that He created billions of planets for no purpose or reason at all? To the best of my knowledge I have never seen an alien yet I totally believe that they exist, it would be difficult to honestly believe other wise. Then again there is the issue of, what does an alien actually look like? Personally I have no idea, but I do doubt that they look like humans. Personally I believe in the existence of Angels, I also believe that I have seen and spoken with at least two in my lifetime. I also believe in the existence of Satan and of His Angels, to me, to not believe in both is Biblical ignorance. I personally do not know if I have ever spoken directly with any Demons but I think that there is a very good chance that I have several times. I know that I have experienced being in places and in the presence of a few people where the feeling of pure evil was like a stench in the air, you could feel it, you could almost taste it. Remember, if you spend your life trying to be good and trying your best to be the best follower of Christ that you know how to be, you make yourself a target for the hate of evil ones, humans and otherwise.
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Earth is bracing for a solar minimum: a dormant period in which the Sun radiates less energy or heat at our planet than usual. Scientists have warned that as a result of the Sun’s inactivity, Earth is likely to witness a ‘mini ice age’ that could bring extreme winters and chilly cold storms over the next 30 years.
According to NASA, the Sun will reach its lowest activity in over 200 years in 2020. As it further goes into its natural hibernation phase, Earth will experience extremely cold spells which will trigger food shortages across the planet. The average temperatures could drop as much as one degree Celsius in a period lasting about 12 months. That might not sound a lot but a whole degree fall would have a significant impact on global average temperatures.
Solar minimums are part of the Sun’s natural life cycle and occur once every 11 years. However, 2020’s minimum is going to be a special case. That’s because it marks the start of a rare event known as a Grand Solar Minimum, in which energy emitted from the Sun plummets down even more than usual. These only occur once every 400 years or so.
As per Northumbria University expert Valentina Zharkova, the icy spells and wet summers could be around until 2053, when solar activity picks up again. She told The Sun that the onset of the Grand Solar Minimum is already evident in Canada and Iceland, “We will possibly get big frosts as is happening now in Canada where they see [temperatures] of -50 degree Celsuis.”
The last Grand Solar Minimum, according to the report, was the Maunder Minimum which lasted from 1645 to 1715. The cruel cold decades saw the Thames and Amsterdam canals to freeze from time to time, something which is quite unusual today. This cold spell was likely set off by a number of factors including a slew of massive volcanic eruptions. In the forthcoming GSM, scientists are expecting a shift in the global temperatures caused due to human activity like rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
In a new study, U.S. and Austrian physicists have observed quantum entanglement among “billions of billions” of flowing electrons in a quantum critical material.
The research, which appears this week in Science, examined the electronic and magnetic behavior of a “strange metal” compound of ytterbium, rhodium and silicon as it both neared and passed through a critical transition at the boundary between two well-studied quantum phases.
The study at Rice University and Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien) provides the strongest direct evidence to date of entanglement’s role in bringing about quantum criticality, said study co-author Qimiao Si of Rice.
“When we think about quantum entanglement, we think about small things,” Si said. “We don’t associate it with macroscopic objects. But at a quantum critical point, things are so collective that we have this chance to see the effects of entanglement, even in a metallic film that contains billions of billions of quantum mechanical objects.”
Si, a theoretical physicist and director of the Rice Center for Quantum Materials (RCQM), has spent more than two decades studying what happens when materials like strange metals and high-temperature superconductors change quantum phases. Better understanding such materials could open the door to new technologies in computing, communications and more.
The international team overcame several challenges to get the result. TU Wien researchers developed a highly complex materials synthesis technique to produce ultrapure films containing one part ytterbium for every two parts rhodium and silicon (YbRh2Si2). At absolute zero temperature, the material undergoes a transition from one quantum phase that forms a magnetic order to another that does not.
At Rice, study co-lead author Xinwei Li, then a graduate student in the lab of co-author and RCQM member Junichiro Kono, performed terahertz spectroscopy experiments on the films at temperatures as low as 1.4 Kelvin. The terahertz measurements revealed the optical conductivity of the YbRh2Si2 films as they were cooled to a quantum critical point that marked the transition from one quantum phase to another.
“With strange metals, there is an unusual connection between electrical resistance and temperature,” said corresponding author Silke Bühler-Paschen of TU Wien’s Institute for Solid State Physics. “In contrast to simple metals such as copper or gold, this does not seem to be due to the thermal movement of the atoms, but to quantum fluctuations at the absolute zero temperature.”
To measure optical conductivity, Li shined coherent electromagnetic radiation in the terahertz frequency range on top of the films and analyzed the amount of terahertz rays that passed through as a function of frequency and temperature. The experiments revealed “frequency over temperature scaling,” a telltale sign of quantum criticality, the authors said.
Kono, an engineer and physicist in Rice’s Brown School of Engineering, said the measurements were painstaking for Li, who’s now a postdoctoral researcher at the California Institute of Technology. For example, only a fraction of the terahertz radiation shined onto the sample passed through to the detector, and the important measurement was how much that fraction rose or fell at different temperatures.
“Less than 0.1% of the total terahertz radiation was transmitted, and the signal, which was the variation of conductivity as a function of frequency, was a further few percent of that,” Kono said. “It took many hours to take reliable data at each temperature to average over many, many measurements, and it was necessary to take data at many, many temperatures to prove the existence of scaling.
“Xinwei was very, very patient and persistent,” Kono said. “In addition, he carefully processed the huge amounts of data he collected to unfold the scaling law, which was really fascinating to me.”
Making the films was even more challenging. To grow them thin enough to pass terahertz rays, the TU Wien team developed a unique molecular beam epitaxy system and an elaborate growth procedure. Ytterbium, rhodium and silicon were simultaneously evaporated from separate sources in the exact 1-2-2 ratio. Because of the high energy needed to evaporate rhodium and silicon, the system required a custom-made ultrahigh vacuum chamber with two electron-beam evaporators.
“Our wild card was finding the perfect substrate: germanium,” said TU Wien graduate student Lukas Prochaska, a study co-lead author. The germanium was transparent to terahertz, and had “certain atomic distances (that were) practically identical to those between the ytterbium atoms in YbRh2Si2, which explains the excellent quality of the films,” he said.
Si recalled discussing the experiment with Bühler-Paschen more than 15 years ago when they were exploring the means to test a new class of quantum critical point. The hallmark of the quantum critical point that they were advancing with co-workers is that the quantum entanglement between spins and charges is critical.
“At a magnetic quantum critical point, conventional wisdom dictates that only the spin sector will be critical,” he said. “But if the charge and spin sectors are quantum-entangled, the charge sector will end up being critical as well.”
At the time, the technology was not available to test the hypothesis, but by 2016, the situation had changed. TU Wien could grow the films, Rice had recently installed a powerful microscope that could scan them for defects, and Kono had the terahertz spectrometer to measure optical conductivity. During Bühler-Paschen’s sabbatical visit to Rice that year, she, Si, Kono and Rice microscopy expert Emilie Ringe received support to pursue the project via an Interdisciplinary Excellence Award from Rice’s newly established Creative Ventures program.
“Conceptually, it was really a dream experiment,” Si said. “Probe the charge sector at the magnetic quantum critical point to see whether it’s critical, whether it has dynamical scaling. If you don’t see anything that’s collective, that’s scaling, the critical point has to belong to some textbook type of description. But, if you see something singular, which in fact we did, then it is very direct and new evidence for the quantum entanglement nature of quantum criticality.”
Si said all the efforts that went into the study were well worth it, because the findings have far-reaching implications.
“Quantum entanglement is the basis for storage and processing of quantum information,” Si said. “At the same time, quantum criticality is believed to drive high-temperature superconductivity. So our findings suggest that the same underlying physics—quantum criticality—can lead to a platform for both quantum information and high-temperature superconductivity. When one contemplates that possibility, one cannot help but marvel at the wonder of nature.”
Si is the Harry C. and Olga K. Wiess Professor in Rice’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. Kono is a professor in Rice’s departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Physics and Astronomy, and Materials Science and NanoEngineering and the director of Rice’s Applied Physics Graduate Program. Ringe is now at the University of Cambridge. Additional co-authors include Maxwell Andrews, Maximilian Bonta, Werner Schrenk, Andreas Limbeck and Gottfried Strasser, all of the TU Wien; Hermann Detz, formerly of TU Wien and currently at Brno University; Elisabeth Bianco, formerly of Rice and currently at Cornell University; Sadegh Yazdi, formerly of Rice and currently at the University of Colorado Boulder; and co-lead author Donald MacFarland, formerly of TU Wien and currently at the University at Buffalo.
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A U.S. Naval Research Laboratory-built camera mounted on the NASA Parker Solar Probe revealed an asteroid dust trail that has eluded astronomers for decades.
Karl Battams, a computational scientist in NRL’s Space Science Division, discussed the results from the camera called Wide-Field Imager for Solar Probe (WISPR) on Dec. 11 during a NASA press conference.
WISPR enabled researchers to identify the dust cloud trailing the orbit of the asteroid 3200 Phaethon.
“This is why NRL’s heliospheric imagers are so ground-breaking,” Battams said. “They allow you to see near-Sun outflows massively fainter than the Sun itself, which would otherwise blind our cameras. And in this case, you can also see solar system objects extremely close to the Sun, which most telescopes cannot do.”
He said the trail is best seen near the Sun where 3200 Phaethon’s dust is more densely packed, making WISPR a vital tool for scientists.
The data captured by WISPR determined the asteroid dust trail weighs an estimated billion tons, and measures more than 14 million miles long. The findings raise questions about the trail’s origin.
“Something catastrophic happened to Phaethon a couple of thousand years ago and created the Geminid Meteor shower,” Battams said. “There’s no way the asteroid is anywhere near active enough when it is near the Sun to produce the mass of dust we are seeing, so we are confident that WISPR is seeing part of the Geminid meteor stream.”
WISPR, designed, developed and led by NRL, records visible-light images of the solar corona and solar outflow in two overlapping cameras, which together cover more than 100-degrees angular width from the Sun.
Understanding how the solar environment behaves is important to the Navy and Marine Corps because when the solar winds reach Earth, they can affect GPS, spacecraft operations, and ground-based power grids.
WISPR and the Parker Solar Probe will continue to orbit the Sun for the next five years.
An EPFL Bachelor’s student has solved a mystery that has puzzled scientists for 100 years. He discovered why gas bubbles in narrow vertical tubes seem to remain stuck instead of rising upward. According to his research and observations, an ultra-thin film of liquid forms around the bubble, preventing it from rising freely. And he found that, in fact, the bubbles are not stuck at all—they are just moving very, very slowly.
Air bubbles in a glass of water float freely up to the surface, and the mechanisms behind this are easily explained by the basic laws of science. However, the same laws of science cannot explain why air bubbles in a tube a few millimeters thick don’t rise the same way.
Physicists first observed this phenomenon nearly a century ago, but couldn’t come up with an explanation—in theory, the bubbles shouldn’t encounter any resistance unless the fluid is in motion; thus a stuck bubble should encounter no resistance.
Back in the 1960s, a scientist named Bretherton developed a formula based on the bubbles’ shape to explain this phenomenon. Other researchers have since postulated that the bubble doesn’t rise due to a thin film of liquid that forms between the bubbles and the tube wall. But these theories cannot fully explain why the bubbles don’t rise upward.
While a Bachelor’s student at the Engineering Mechanics of Soft Interfaces laboratory (EMSI) within EPFL’s School of Engineering, Wassim Dhaouadi was able to not only view the thin film of liquid, but also measure it and describe its properties—something that had never been done before. His findings showed that the bubbles weren’t stuck, as scientists previously thought, but actually moving upwards extremely slowly. Dhaouadi’s research, which was published recently in Physical Review Fluids, marked the first time that experimental evidence was provided to test earlier theories.
Dhaouadi and EMSI lab head, John Kolinski, used an optical interference method to measure the film, which they found to be only a few dozen nanometers (1 x 10-9 meters) thick. The method involved directing light onto an air bubble inside a narrow tube and analyzing the reflected light intensity. Using the interference of the light reflected from the tube’s inner wall and from the bubble’s surface, they precisely measured the film’s thickness.
Dhaouadi also discovered that the film changes shape if heat is applied to the bubble and returns to its original shape once the heat is removed. “This discovery disproves the most recent theories that the film would drain to zero thickness,” says John Kolinski.
These measurements also show that the bubbles are actually moving, albeit too slowly to be seen by the human eye. “Because the film between the bubble and the tube is so thin, it creates a strong resistance to flow, drastically slowing the bubbles’ rise,” according to Kolinski.
These findings relate to fundamental research but could be used to study fluid mechanics on a nanometric scale, especially for biological systems.
Dhaouadi joined the lab as a summer research assistant during his Bachelor. He made rapid progress, and continued the work of his own volition. “He essentially participated out of his interest in the research, and wound up publishing a paper from his work that brings to rest a centuries-old puzzle,” says Kolinski.
“I was happy to carry a research project early in my curriculum. It is a new way of thinking and learning and was quite different from a Homework set where you know there is a solution, although it may be hard to find. At first, We did not know if there would even be a solution to this problem.,” says Dhaouadi, who is now completing a Master’s degree at ETH Zurich. Kolinski adds: “Wassim made an exceptional discovery at our lab. We were happy to have him working with us.”
E. coli bacteria. (NIAID/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0)
In a remarkable breakthrough that could pave the way toward carbon-neutral fuels, researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have produced a genetically engineered bacteria that can live on carbon dioxide rather than sugar.
The extraordinary leap — reported Wednesday in Cell, and quickly picked up by prestigious publications such as Nature — could lead to the low-emissions production of carbon for use in biofuels or food that would also help to remove excess CO₂ from the atmosphere, where it is helping to drive global warming.
Plants and ocean-living cyanobacteria perform photosynthesis, taking the energy from light to transform CO₂ into a form of organic carbon that can be used to build DNA, proteins and fats.
As these photosynthesizers can be difficult to moderate genetically, the Weizmann team, under Prof. Ron Milo, took E. coli bacteria — more commonly associated with food poisoning — and spent ten years weaning them off sugar and training them to “eat” carbon dioxide instead.
Through genetic engineering, they enabled the bacteria to convert CO₂ into organic carbon, substituting the energy of the sun — a vital ingredient in the photosynthesis process — with a substance called formate, which is also attracting attention as a potential generator of clean electricity.
Prof Ron Milo of the Weizmann Institute of Sciences. (Screenshot)
To get the bacteria to move from a sugar to a carbon dioxide diet, the team, which also included Roee Ben-Nissan, Yinon Bar-On and others in the institute’s Plant and Environmental Sciences Department, then almost starved the bacteria of sugar (glucose), while giving them plenty of carbon dioxide and formate, and bred several generations to test whether evolution would allow some of the bacteria to mutate and be able to survive solely on CO₂.
After a year, some of the bacteria descendants made the complete switch to CO₂, following evolutionary changes in just 11 genes.
The lab bacteria that moved over to a CO₂ diet were fed very high amounts of the gas. However, under regular atmospheric conditions, they would still need sugar, as well, to live.
“Our lab was the first to pursue the idea of changing the diet of a normal heterotroph [one that eats organic substances] to convert it to autotrophism [‘living on air’],” said Milo. “It sounded impossible at first, but it has taught us numerous lessons along the way, and in the end we showed it indeed can be done. Our findings are a significant milestone toward our goal of efficient, green scientific applications.”
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Physicists Have Identified a Metal That Conducts Electricity But Not Heat
30 NOV 2019
Researchers have identified a metal that conducts electricity without conducting heat – an incredibly useful property that defies our current understanding of how conductors work.
The metal, found in 2017, contradicts something called the Wiedemann-Franz Law, which basically states that good conductors of electricity will also be proportionally good conductors of heat, which is why things like motors and appliances get so hot when you use them regularly.
“It shows a drastic breakdown of a textbook law that has been known to be robust for conventional conductors. This discovery is of fundamental importance for understanding the basic electronic behavior of novel conductors.”
Not only does this unexpected property change what we know about conductors, it could also be incredibly useful – the metal could one day be used to convert wasted heat from engines and appliances back into electricity, or even create better window coverings that keep buildings cool.
Researchers already knew of a handful of other materials that conduct electricity better than heat, but they only display those properties at temperatures hundreds of degrees below zero, which makes them highly impractical for any real-world applications.
Vanadium dioxide, on the other hand, is usually only a conductor at warm temperatures well above room temperature, which means it has the ability to be a lot more practical.
To uncover this bizarre property, the team looked at the way that electrons move within vanadium dioxide’s crystal lattice, as well as how much heat was being generated.
Surprisingly, they found that the thermal conductivity that could be attributed to the electrons in the material was 10 times smaller than that amount predicted by the Wiedemann-Franz Law.
The reason for this appears to be the synchronised way that the electrons move through the material.
“The electrons were moving in unison with each other, much like a fluid, instead of as individual particles like in normal metals,” said Wu.
“For electrons, heat is a random motion. Normal metals transport heat efficiently because there are so many different possible microscopic configurations that the individual electrons can jump between.”
“In contrast, the coordinated, marching-band-like motion of electrons in vanadium dioxide is detrimental to heat transfer as there are fewer configurations available for the electrons to hop randomly between,” he added.
Interestingly, when the researchers mixed the vanadium dioxide with other materials, they could ‘tune’ the amount of both electricity and heat that it could conduct – which could be incredibly useful for future applications.
For example, when the researchers added the metal tungsten to vanadium dioxide, they lowered the temperature at which the material became metallic, and also made it a better heat conductor.
That means that vanadium dioxide could help dissipate heat from a system, by only conducting heat when it hits a certain temperature. Before that it would be an insulator.
Vanadium dioxide also has the unique ability of being transparent to around 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), but then reflects infrared light above 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit) while remaining transparent to visible light.
So that means it could even be used as a window coating that reduces the temperature without the need for air conditioning.
“By tuning its thermal conductivity, the material can efficiently and automatically dissipate heat in the hot summer because it will have high thermal conductivity, but prevent heat loss in the cold winter because of its low thermal conductivity at lower temperatures.”
A lot more research needs to be done on this puzzling material before it’s commercialized further, but it’s pretty exciting that we now know these bizarre properties exist in a material at room temperature.
(CNN)Scientists have discovered a “monster black hole” so massive that, in theory, it shouldn’t exist.
It’s a stellar black hole — the type that forms after stars die, collapse, and explode. Researchers had previously believed that the size limit was no more than 20 times the mass of our sun because as these stars die, they lose most of their mass through explosions that expel matter and gas swept away by stellar winds.
“Black holes of such mass should not even exist in our galaxy, according to most of the current models of stellar evolution,” said Liu Jifeng, head of the team that made the discovery. “LB-1 is twice as massive as what we thought possible. Now theorists will have to take up the challenge of explaining its formation.”
Scientists are now scratching their heads at how LB-1 got so huge.
The Chinese team has proposed a number of theories. LB-1’s sheer size suggests that it “was not formed from the collapse of only one star,” the study said — instead, it could potentially be two smaller black holes orbiting each other.
Another possibility is that it formed from a “fallback supernova.” This is when a supernova — the last stage of an exploding star — ejects material during the explosion, which then falls back into the supernova, creating a black hole.
This fallback formation is theoretically possible, but scientists have never been able to prove or observe it. If this is how LB-1 formed, then we may have “direct evidence for this process” for the first time, the study said.
LB-1 is not the biggest black hole ever discovered — but it may be the largest of its kind. There are several types of black holes, and stellar black holes like LB-1 are on the smaller side, according to NASA. Supermassive black holes are much bigger — they can be billions of times the mass of our sun.
Scientists believe supermassive black holes may be connected to the formation of galaxies, as they often exist at the center of the massive star systems — but it is still not clear exactly how, or which form first.
Stellar black holes are believed to be commonly scattered across the universe, but they are difficult to detect because they do not normally emit X-rays — only doing so when they gobble up gas from a star that has ventured close enough. They are so elusive that scientists have only found, identified, and measured about two dozen stellar black holes, the press release said.
The researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences tried a different approach. Instead of looking for X-rays emitted by black holes, the team looked for stars that were orbiting some invisible object, being pulled in by its gravity.
Their efforts paid off — they soon spotted a giant star eight times heavier than the sun, orbiting around what turned out to be LB-1.
“This discovery forces us to re-examine our models of how stellar-mass black holes form,” said David Reitze, a physicist at the University of Florida. In May, Reitze’s team made its own breakthrough discovery — observing the never-before-seen collision of a neutron star and a black hole, which sent out ripples in space and time.
These twin discoveries — the collision, and now LB-1 — indicate that scientists are reaching “a renaissance in our understanding of black hole astrophysics,” said Reitze in the press release.
There have been several other discoveries over the past year that have added to this renaissance. In October, researchers discovered what they believe to be a new type of black hole, smaller than the other kinds. And earlier this week, astronomers discovered a black hole that is actually helping baby stars grow instead of destroying them.
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