NASA shock: The most massive object in the universe is forming before our very own eyes



NASA shock: The most massive object in the universe is forming before our very own eyes

NASA astronomers have detected the merger of four galactic clusters in deep space will give birth to one of the most massive objects in the universe.

NASA supercomputer: A trip through the ‘universe machine’



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 estimates the resulting mega-cluster will combine weights “several hundred trillion times” more than our Sun. The monstrous body will emerge from the collision of four galactic clusters about three billion light-years from Earth. Each cluster carries hundreds or thousands of galaxies of its own, suspended in a cloud of hot gas.

Astronomers have dubbed the slowly emerging “mega-structure” Abell 1758.

NASA estimates the individual bodies in the collisions are moving at speeds of two to three million miles per hour.

The incredible discovery was made possible thanks to NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory  probe.

NASA said: “Astronomers using data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes have put together a detailed map of a rare collision between four galaxy clusters.


NASA news: Four galactic clusters merging into one

NASA news: These four galactic clusters are merging into a mega-cluster (Image: NASA NASA/CXC/SAO/G.Schellenberger et al.;)

NASA news: Chandra X-ray Observatory

NASA news: The Chandra Observatory watches the universe in X-ray wavelenghts (Image: NASA/CXC & J VAUGHAN)

“Eventually, all four clusters – each with a mass of at least several hundred trillion times that of the Sun – will merge to form one of the most massive objects in the universe.”

Galactic clusters are large groupings of individual galaxies bound together by their collective gravities and the gravity of dark matter.

The gravitational attraction also explains why clusters are suspended in a cloud of gas.

Galaxies will typically expel their stellar gases when stars erupt into supernovas.

Clusters hang onto these gases and are some of the largest known objects in the universe.

In the particular case of Abell 1758, astronomers have detected four separate bodies colliding into two larger clusters.

All four clusters will merge to form one of the most massive objects in the universe


In time, the resulting two bodies will fall towards one another to produce an even bigger mega-structure.

NASA said: “Sometimes two galaxy clusters collide, as in the case of the Bullet Cluster, and occasionally more than two will collide at the same time.

“The new observations show a mega-structure being assembled in a system called Abell 1758, located about three billion light-years from Earth.


NASA news: Percentage of NASA's budget over years

NASA news: The percentage of NASA’s budget over the years (Image: EXPRESS)

NASA news: Galactic cluster in deep space

NASA news: Galactic clusters are large groups of galaxies suspended in a cloud of gas (Image: NASA)

“It contains two pairs of colliding galaxy clusters that are heading toward one another.

“Scientists first recognised Abell 1758 as a quadruple galaxy cluster system in 2004 using data from Chandra and XMM-Newton, a satellite operated by the European Space Agency (ESA).”

Chandra’s Observatory charts the universe in X-ray wavelengths instead of visible light.

In the above picture, the X-rays are seen in blue and white light.

NASA: Three black holes heading towards a merger

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What happens when galaxies collide?

Galactic collisions are a fairly frequent occurrence in deep space and our Milky Way is no exception.

Approximately four billion years from now the neighboring Andromeda galaxy will crash into the Milky Way.

Thankfully, the space in-between individual planets and stars is too great for any bodies to collide.

But the collisions will have a profound effect on the shape and movement of the galaxies.

When two spiral galaxies collide, for instance, they can end up creating an elliptical galaxy.

The galactic merger can also trigger the birth of new stars thanks to stellar gas and dust mixing in the presence of gravity.

Quick facts about NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory

1. NASA’s Chandra is the world’s most powerful X-ray observatory.

2. The space telescope was launched into orbit by a space shuttle.

3. Chandra can resolve the individual letters of a stop sign from 12 miles away.

4. The space telescope orbits the Earth 200 times higher than the Hubble Space Telescope.

5. Thanks to its X-ray capabilities, Chandra can peer through clouds of stellar gas that otherwise obscure hidden bodies.

Could Our Universe Be Inside Of A Black Hole?



Black hole shock: Our universe could be INSIDE a black hole – shock claim

BLACK holes could be a portal to another universe and our cosmos could have been born from one, a scientist has sensationally claimed.

Black holes: Scientist reveals how Earth could be destroyed



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While the accepted theory on the universe began is the big bang, there are other equally baffling theories. One such is that our universe was born from a black hole opening in another parallel universe and that each black hole in our cosmos could be a gateway to another universe. At the beginning of time, 13.8 billion years ago, there was a dense and super-hot energetic point where the laws of physics did not apply – what is known as a singularity.

The only other time in the universe where a singularity occurs and the laws of physics are thrown out of the window is at the event horizon of a black hole, which is unexplainable by current scientific methods.

There are a few ways in which a black hole can form.

Scientists believe the most common instance is when a star, thousands of times the size of our sun, collapses in on itself when it dies – known as a supernova.

Another way is when a large amount of matter, which can be in the form of a gas cloud or a star collapses in on itself through its own gravitational pull.

black hole universe

Black hole shock: Our universe could be INSIDE a black hole – shock claim (Image: GETTY)

black hole

Our universe could have been born from a black hole opening in another parallel universe (Image: GETTY)

Finally, the collision of two neutron stars can cause a black hole.

The gist of all three ways is that a massive amount of mass located in one spot can cause a black hole with it essentially ripping a hole in the fabric of space-time.

This has led some to believe that the Big Bang was actually a black hole opening in another universe, allowing the matter which has spewed through from that portal to create our own portal.

The matter that has been spewing through for 13.8 billion years could also explain why the universe is ever-expanding.

READ MORE: Black hole bombshell: Scientists stunned by ‘freaky’ first


“Every black hole would produce a new, baby universe inside” (Image: GETTY)

Sravanthi Sureshkumar, a physicist from Meenakshi College, India, explained on Q+A site Quora: “Every black hole would produce a new, baby universe inside. If that is true, then the first matter in our universe came from somewhere else.

“Our universe may exist inside a black hole. This may sound strange, but it could actually be the best explanation of how the universe began, and what we observe today.

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What is a black hole? (Image: EXPRESS)

“Just as we cannot see what is going on inside black holes in the cosmos, any observers in the parent universe could not see what is going on in ours.

“The motion of matter through the black hole’s boundary called an ‘event horizon’, would only happen in one direction, providing a direction of time that we perceive as moving forward.”

Hubble captures elusive, irregular galaxy



Hubble captures elusive, irregular galaxy

Hubble captures elusive, irregular galaxy
As an irregular galaxy, IC 10 lacks the majestic shape of spiral galaxies such as the Milky Way, or the rounded, ethereal appearance of elliptical galaxies. It is a faint object, despite its relative proximity to us of 2.2 million light-years. In fact, IC 10 only became known to humankind in 1887, when American astronomer Lewis Swift spotted it during an observing campaign. The small galaxy remains difficult to study even today, because it is located along a line-of-sight which is chock-full of cosmic dust and stars. Credit: NASA, ESA and F. Bauer

This image shows an irregular galaxy named IC 10, a member of the Local Group—a collection of over 50 galaxies in our cosmic neighborhood that includes the Milky Way.

IC 10 is a remarkable object. It is the closest-known , meaning that it is undergoing a furious bout of star formation fueled by ample supplies of cool hydrogen gas. This gas condenses into vast molecular clouds, which then form into dense knots where pressures and temperatures reach a point sufficient to ignite , thus giving rise to new generations of stars.

As an irregular galaxy, IC 10 lacks the majestic shape of spiral galaxies such as the Milky Way, or the rounded, ethereal appearance of elliptical . It is a faint object, despite its relative proximity to us of 2.2 million light-years. In fact, IC 10 only became known to humankind in 1887, when American astronomer Lewis Swift spotted it during an observing campaign. The small galaxy remains difficult to study even today, because it is located along a line-of-sight which is chock-full of cosmic dust and stars.

A version of this image was entered into the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures image processing competition by contestant Nikolaus Sulzenauer, and went on to win 10th prize.

Explore further

Hubble takes gigantic image of the Triangulum Galaxy

Dark Matter And Black Holes



WHEN IT COMES to the nature of dark matter, astronomers are still largely, well, in the dark. The existence of this mysterious substance was hypothesized more than 40 years ago to explain discrepancies between the calculations of how galaxies ought to behave, based on their mass, and what was actually observed. In short, it seemed like mass was missing. So Vera Rubin, the astronomer who first discovered this discrepancy, conjured an invisible substance that is far more abundant than “normal” matter and acts as the scaffolding for the large-scale structure of the universe. Today we call it dark matter.

Yet decades of hunting for the elusive dark matter particle still have not yielded direct evidence of its existence. Most cosmologists still believe that dark matter must exist, but some have splintered off to propose other explanations that explain away dark matter by modifying our understanding of gravity.

But two findings are now casting doubt on the modified gravity explanation. In March, a team of astronomers led by Yale professor Pieter van Dokkum and his graduate student Shany Danieli published two papers, one confirming the existence of a galaxy that appears to have almost no dark matter and the other announcing the discovery of a second galaxy of this type. The irony, the researchers say, is that the seeming lack of dark matter in these galaxies is strong evidence that it exists.

The reason they believe these galaxies have no dark matter is that their dynamics can be predicted using our traditional theories of gravity. The discrepancy of the “missing mass” that’s seen in most galaxies isn’t present here, meaning there’s no need for dark matter to explain their behavior. And it means that the modified version of gravity proposed by some cosmologists doesn’t predict these galaxies’ movements as cleanly as good old Newtonian physics.

The discovery of these dark-matter-free galaxies traces back to 2014, when van Dokkum and his colleagues finished building Dragonfly, a new kind of telescope, made of off-the-shelf telephoto camera lenses, that specializes in observing extremely faint celestial objects. Only a year after its first light, Dragonfly discovered a new galaxy characterized by an extreme lack of stars relative to its size. Known as an ultra-diffuse galaxy, this ghostly celestial object had roughly the same mass as our Milky Way, but only one hundredth of one percent of that mass could be attributed to “normal” matter like stars. In other words, van Dokkum and his colleagues had discovered a galaxy made of 99.99 percent dark matter.

While this galaxy was unique, its existence isn’t entirely surprising. Most cosmologists think that dense collections of dark matter act as a sort of seed for the formation of large celestial objects like galaxies. The general idea, says Anže Slosar, an astrophysicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory, is that once a collection of dark matter reaches a critical density, it collapses under its own gravity and forms a so-called “dark matter halo.” This halo, in turn, gravitationally attracts hydrogen gas to its center, where it begins to form stars and, eventually, galaxies. The mass of a dark matter halo varies from galaxy to galaxy, but it seemed like every galaxy must have at least some dark matter to keep its form. Indeed, this assumption was precisely what made Dragonfly’s next discovery so surprising.

In 2016, van Dokkum and his colleagues at Yale discovered NGC 1052-DF2, an ultra-diffuse galaxy that appeared to contain little to no dark matter at all. Last year, when the Yale astronomers published their results in the journal Nature, their peers in the cosmological community were incredulous. This was the first galaxy ever discovered that appeared to lack any dark matter, and as Carl Sagan rightly observed, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”—which is what many cosmologists thought the Yale team was missing.

University of Pennsylvania astrophysicist Robyn Sanderson says the skepticism about DF2 sprang mostly from the limited amount of data used to draw the conclusion. In this case, the Yale team was using data from just 10 star clusters observed over a period of two nights. This meant it was possible they were overlooking key details of the star clusters’ motion, which would distort their estimations of the galaxy’s mass—and undermine their claim that it lacked dark matter.

The Yale researchers recognized this possible source of error themselves when they published their paper on DF2. The only way to resolve this conundrum was to make more detailed measurements or to find another galaxy with characteristics similar to DF2. In March, the Yale team published two papers that did exactly these things.

The first paper offered more refined measurements of stellar velocities within DF2. This time, rather than just measuring the velocities of 10 star clusters, van Dokkum and Danieli used the Keck telescope in Hawaii to observe the velocities of the stars within the star clusters. This approach produced far more data that reinforced the team’s earlier conclusion that the galaxy lacked dark matter.

The other paper announced the discovery of a second galaxy, DF4, which also appears to have little, if any, dark matter. Not only does this increase the odds that the DF2 observations are accurate, it also means such ultra-diffuse galaxies might not be so rare. The fact that two were found in quick succession, Danieli says, was “really reassuring.” Nevertheless, she says “it’s still too early to say whether they are super rare or quite common.” The team will begin observing other nearby ultra-diffuse galaxies next month in an effort to answer this question.

But that won’t resolve the mystery of how these strange galaxies came to exist in the first place. Theoretical cosmologists will have to run simulations to determine how a galaxy can lose its dark matter, she says. One leading theory involves tidal interactions, which is astronomer-speak for when the gravitational forces of two neighboring galaxies pull material from each galaxy and distort them. DF2 and DF4 are both near the galaxy NGC 1052, which makes it a strong candidate for the galaxy that stole their dark matter.

However they came to be, Danieli argues that the existence of these galaxies is a blow to the modified gravityexplanation for why most galaxies don’t behave as we’d expect.

Known as modified Newtonian dynamics, or MOND, this theory recasts gravity such that it has different effects at the galactic scale. Although MOND has successfully predicted the stellar dynamics of hundreds of galaxies, most of which are relatively isolated, it must be able to predict the dynamics of all galaxies to dethrone dark matter as the going cosmological theory.

As Slosar explains it, the discovery of DF2 and DF4 strengthens the case for the existence of a dark matter particle because it means that it can be separated from normal matter. Because these galaxies behave in line with standard gravitational theory, using the equations discovered by Newton and Kepler, they present a challenge to MOND.

“If you find galaxies, some of which have a lot of dark matter and some of which have a little dark matter, you can’t explain it with the loss of gravity unless you’re willing to say that one part of the universe has a different law of gravity than another part, which is just silly,” Slosar says. “The entire point of physics is to find unified laws that are always there. This is why it is an argument for the existence of dark matter.”

So does the existence of galaxies devoid of dark matter pose an existential threat for MOND? Stacy McGaugh, an astronomer at Case Western Reserve University, doesn’t think so. “When DF2 was first discovered, it was portrayed as a huge problem for MOND,” McGaugh says. “On more careful analysis, it turned out that the prediction of MOND was spot-on what was observed.”

The analysis by McGaugh and his colleagues of DF2’s implications for MOND hinges on the galaxy’s proximity to the massive elliptical galaxy NGC1052. Under a set of “reasonable” assumptions, paired with equations from MOND, McGaugh and his colleagues found that NGC1052’s gravitational effects on DF2 would return stellar velocities similar to what van Dokkum and Danieli actually observed. Although he hasn’t had the chance to repeat this analysis for DF4, McGaugh says it also “appears to be consistent with MOND, since it is likely affected by NGC 1052.”

The existence of these galaxies poses a number of vexing problems for the theory of galactic formation, which must account for how a galaxy can come to be violently stripped of its dark matter and still retain the relative order seen, for example, in the presence of star clusters in DF2 and DF4. Will further observations of ultra-diffuse galaxies resolve the dark matter debate? Probably not, but they will, at least, shed some light on the matter.

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Gargantuan ‘X-ray Chimneys’ in the Center of Our Galaxy



Astronomers Spot Gargantuan ‘X-ray Chimneys’ in the Center of Our Galaxy

The monster black hole that anchors our galaxy is safely 28,000 light years away from Earth. That’s a good thing, too. The region around that back hole is overflowing with dangerous radiation and fragmented stars. Astronomers observing the center of the Milky Way have spotted some unusual features that drive home just how violent the area is. The galaxy sports a pair of gargantuan “X-ray chimneys” that expel the matter and energy building up around the black hole.

UCLA professor of astronomy and astrophysics Mark Morris, who contributed to the research, likens the features to exhaust vents, bleeding off energy from the galaxy in the form of X-rays. The international team looked to the black hole, known as Sagittarius A* (pronounced “Sagittarius A Star”) in an effort to learn more about star formation in the Milky Way. All galaxies foster the development of stars, but the rate of new star formation can vary wildly. The fate of the matter and energy spiraling toward a galaxy’s central black hole can be a significant factor in star formation.

To track the material blasted out around Sagittarius A*, the researchers turned to the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton satellite. This X-ray observatory launched almost 20 years ago, but it’s still going strong. The team used data from 2012, as well as 2016 to 2018 to see what the black hole was doing with all the stars getting smashed to bits in its general vicinity.

According to the researchers, Sagittarius A* produces “chimneys” of X-ray that extend north and south from the disk of the galaxy. The structures are more appropriately known as Fermi bubbles, massive cavities carved out of the gas cloud surrounding the galaxy. The north and south chimney both start within 160 light years of the black hole, extending outward about 25,000 light years. That’s almost the distance from Sagittarius A* to Earth.

The black hole in our galaxy is about 4 million times the size of the sun, but other galaxies have central black holes that are much larger. We can study the Milky Way close up, which could provide insights into how these more energetic galaxies work. Understanding how energy moves through the chimneys and into surrounding space could help explain why some regions become rich in star formation, and others are relatively barren.

“Planet Nine” Might Be Invisible, Hiding Beyond Neptune



“Planet Nine” Might Be Invisible, Hiding Beyond Neptune, Scientists Think


Increasingly more astronomers from all around the world believe that there is the so-called “Planet Nine,” hiding beyond Neptune. On the other hand, circumstantial evidence of its existence continues to gather, while some scientists also think that the mysterious planet might be invisible to our current observatories.

“Every time we take a picture, there is this possibility that Planet Nine exists in the shot,” said Surhud More from the University of Tokyo.

On the other hand, Michael Brown from the California Institute of Technology believes that “Planet Nine” will eventually be discovered by astronomers, but, so far, our existing observatories are not capable of detecting the mysterious space object.

Also, in 2016, Michael Brown, along with his team, studied the planetoid found in 2014 and which revealed that some mini ice-worlds at the outermost border of our Solar System followed similar paths around the Sun. This discovery boosted the beliefs in the existence of the so-called “Planet Nine.”

If there’s a “Planet Nine” hiding far beyond Neptune, it is invisible for us

According to Michael Brown and Konstantin Batygin, the mysterious planet would weigh between five and 20 Earth masses, while it would follow an elliptical orbit hundreds or even 1,000 times more distant from the Sun in comparison to the Earth’s orbit.

At such a distance, space is too dark for the current observatories to spot the “Planet Nine” directly. Accordingly, this strange object would be by 160,000 times dimmer than Neptune is at 30 AU (astronomical unit – Earth-Sun distance). So, at about 1,000 AU, “Planet Nine” would be by 1 million times dimmer.

On the other hand, even if the scientists use the most potent observatory of the moment, the Subaru telescope in Hawaii which has a wide field of view permitting astronomers to access a search area of the size of 4,000 full moons, there is very challenging to observe such a distant world.

At the moment of the observation, the “Planet Nine” might hide in the light pollution of the Milky Way, could find itself in the shine of a bright star, or, even worse, it might be at a specific point of its orbit beyond the 1,000 AU-limit which would make it entirely invisible for at least a thousand years.

So, at the moment, the scientists believe there’s something beyond Neptune that causes some disturbances in the orbit of other space objects, but could that be “Planet Nine?” So far, nobody knows.


Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP section.


Monster Black Hole 100,000 Times Larger Than The Sun Has Been Discovered In Milky Way




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Scientists believe they have discovered a huge black hole near the center of the Milky Way hiding within a massive cloud of molecular gas. With an estimated mass of around 100,000 times that of our sun, they believe it could be a special type of black hole that has long been hypothesized but never officially identified.

Intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs) are considered the missing link in the evolution of the cosmic objects and could help explain how supermassive black holes are formed. However, no direct evidence of an IMBH has ever been found.

In a study published in Nature Astronomy, scientists led by Tomoharu Oka from Keio University, Japan, announced a new candidate for an IMBH. They found a “peculiar” molecular cloud sitting near the center of the Milky Way which displayed some highly unusual properties not seen in similar structures—properties that could be explained by a “gravitational kick” caused by an “invisible compact object with a mass of about 105 solar masses.”

Using numerical simulations of the hidden object, they interpret it as being an IMBH that is not currently accreting matter—the accumulation of particles by gravitationally attracting more matter. If it is a black hole, it would be the second largest in the Milky Way after Sagittarius A. It is also the second IMBH candidate within the Milky Way.

Finding an IMBH would open up a new avenue of research in understanding supermassive black holes—black holes that can be billions of times the mass of the sun that sit at the center of most massive galaxies, including the Milky Way.

black holeArtist impression of a black hole.NASA/SOFIA/LYNETTE COOK

“It is widely accepted that black holes with masses greater than a million solar masses lurk at the centers of massive galaxies,” the team wrote. “[But] the origins of such supermassive black holes remain unknown.”

One of the prominent theories about how supermassive black holes form is through IMBHs merging at the center of galaxies, acting as seeds to create their larger counterparts. This would help explain how supermassive black holes managed to get so massive so quickly—they appeared when the universe was just a few hundred million years old.

The researchers also say identifying and studying an IMBH will expand our understanding of the universe more generally.

“Theoretical studies have predicted that 100 million to one billion black holes should exist in the Milky Way, although only 60 or so have been identified through observations so far,” the authors continue.

“Further detection of such compact high-velocity features in various environments may increase the number of non-luminous black hole candidate and thereby increase targets to search for evidential proof of general relativity. This would make a considerable contribution to the progress of modern physics.”

Researchers will now continue to study the candidate IMBH in the hope of confirming its nature.

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