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Nova Scotia professor studies light at the edge of supermassive black holes – CTV News Atlantic

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HALIFAX —
Black holes, the astronomical mysteries at the centre of physics and astronomy, aren’t the cosmic vacuums people think they are.

Their activity is a lot more complicated than that, says Luigi Gallo, professor in the astronomy and physics department at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax.

“A lot of black holes actually eject a lot of material out into space,” Gallo said in an interview Tuesday.

“This material can then get shot across the galaxy, even into the space between galaxies, and it can kind of affect how galaxies form and how the galaxy evolves sometimes.”

Gallo’s research focuses on supermassive black holes — the regions in space where gravity is so strong that not even light can escape. Supermassive black holes are orders of magnitude larger than our sun.

He and his students are looking into the area right at the edge of supermassive black holes as well as the high-temperature X-rays that are found there. Beyond that edge — known as the event horizon — scientists aren’t able to see what’s going on because light gets sucked into the black hole’s maw and disappears.

Gallo said by looking at the edges of supermassive black holes — the largest kinds of black holes — he and other scientists are hoping to get a better picture of the shape of the area surrounding the perimeter of those massive voids. They want to know what that area is made of and how it’s falling into the hole.

X-rays, Gallo said, are made of light the human eye can’t see. And therefore, he said, to study them, scientists are planning to launch a new satellite into space. His research is being used in the development of the satellite, called XRISM. The project is backed by NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and it is set to be launched into space in 2022.

The satellite will be equipped with a tool called a calorimeter, which is a sensitive prism that will break the X-rays into a band of colours. From there, researchers will be able to use the different colours to identify the composition of the material and its movement around a black hole, giving them more information about the “geometry” of the region just outside the hole itself, Gallo said.

There is an exchange between the black hole and the outer reaches of the galaxy it’s located in, Gallo said, a sort of “feedback” loop that allows the two to “know” about each other. “We understand that there’s a relationship between how galaxies grow and how black holes at the centre grow, but we don’t really know exactly which one is driving which.”

He said that as the black hole becomes “active” and spits material out into space, “it can trigger or turn off star formations,” affecting how heavenly bodies in the path of the material evolve. Scientists believe these massive objects exist at the centre of every galaxy.

Though scientists aren’t exactly sure how the relationship between a galaxy’s dark centre and its outermost reaches works, Gallo said the new satellite can hopefully help explain.

“The galaxy dumps material onto the black hole and then at some point the black hole says, `That’s enough material, I don’t want any more,’ and it tosses it back out into the galaxy and it turns things off and stops the feeding process,” he said.

“Eventually it stops tossing material out and the galaxy starts feeding it again and you get this cyclic process.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 13, 2021.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

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Tuesday brings no new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Newfoundland and Labrador – SaltWire Network

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ST. JOHN’S, N.L. —

For the second straight day, there were no new confirmed cases of COVID-19 announced by Health and Community Services.

The provincial government says another person in the Eastern Health region has recovered, bringing the number of active cases in the province down to five. One of those individuals is still in hospital.

To date, 76,740 people have been tested and 384 people have recovered.

Public Health is reminding residents that COVID Alert is available for download free through the Apple or Google Play app stores and is encouraging people to download it in order to help reduce the spread of the virus.

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Dinosaur Fossil From Argentina Could Belong To Largest Terrestrial Animal Known To Science – Forbes

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Fossilized bone fragments found in Neuquén Province in northwest Patagonia could belong to a new species of Titanosaur, a sauropod family of dinosaurs including some of the largest terrestrial animals to ever walk on Earth.

Titanosaurian sauropods were the most diverse and abundant large-bodied terrestrial herbivores in the Southern Hemisphere landmasses during the Cretaceous, a geological period that lasted from about 145 to 66 million years ago. Their fossils have been discovered on all continents and titanosaur species comprise approximately one-third of known sauropods. Some taxa are regarded as the most massive terrestrial animals known to science, whereas others were apparently no heavier than modern cattle.

The recovered remains are not a complete skeleton, and consist mainly of pelvic bones and vertebrae, and could belong to a previously unknown species. There are some similarities to fossils belonging to Andesaurus, a type of “super-sized titanosaur” which existed during the middle of the Cretaceous Period in South America. These large sauropods grew to be 18 meters (or 60 feet) long. Based on the size of the new remains, the authors suggest that this species was far larger, easily exceeding Andesaurus in size, maybe even bigger than the largest known Titanosaurian sauropods, the Patagotitan and Argentinosaurus. Patagotitan, described in 2014, is believed to have weighed almost 60 tons, reached lengths of over 31 meters (102 feet). Argentinosaurus is one of the largest known land animals of all time, with length estimates ranging from 30 to 40 meters (100 to 130 feet) and weight estimates from 50 to 100 tons.

Body size and mass estimation of the sauropod dinosaurs is generally tricky, as many species are known only from fragmentary remains. Based on the recovered fossils, the new species likely far exceeded a mass of 40 tons, however, only with further fossil discoveries a more accurate size estimation may be possible. The research was published in the journal Cretaceous Research.

The largest animal ever to have existed on Earth remains the modern blue whale. Living in the sea and not limited by gravity as much as land-dwelling animals, it can reach a maximum length of 33.5 meters and weigh 173 tons.

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Dinosaur fossils could belong to the world's largest ever creature – msnNOW

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Experts have uncovered the remains of a gigantic dinosaur in Argentina, and believe it could be one of the largest creatures to have ever walked the Earth.






© Alejandro Otero and José Luis Carballido
Paleontologists discovered the fossilized remains of a 98 million-year-old titanosaur in Neuquén Province in Argentina’s northwest Patagonia.

Paleontologists discovered the fossilized remains of a 98 million-year-old titanosaur in Neuquén Province in Argentina’s northwest Patagonia, in thick, sedimentary deposits known as the Candeleros Formation.

The 24 vertebrae of the tail and elements of the pelvic and pectoral girdle discovered are thought to belong to a titanosaur, a diverse group of sauropod dinosaurs, characterized by their large size, a long neck and tail, and four-legged stance.

In research published in the journal Cretaceous Research, experts say they believe the creature to be “one of the largest sauropods ever found” and could exceed the size of a Patagotitan, a species which lived 100 million to 95 million years ago and measured up to a staggering 37.2 meters (122 feet) long.



a close up of an animal: The newly discovered dinosaur is thought to have a body mass exceeding or comparable to an Argentinosaurus, which measured up to 40 meters and weighed up to 110 tons.


© Nobumichi Tamura/STKRF/AP Photo/Stocktrek Images
The newly discovered dinosaur is thought to have a body mass exceeding or comparable to an Argentinosaurus, which measured up to 40 meters and weighed up to 110 tons.

“It is a huge dinosaur, but we expect to find much more of the skeleton in future field trips, so we’ll have the possibility to address with confidence how really big it was,” Alejandro Otero, a paleontologist with Argentina’s Museo de La Plata, told CNN via email.

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Titanosaur fossils have been found on all continents except Antarctica. But the biggest “multi-ton” varieties of the species — including those titanosaurs exceeding 40 tons — have mostly been discovered in Patagonia.

Without analyzing the dinosaur’s humerus or femur, experts say it is not yet possible to say how much the creature weighs. However, the partially recovered dinosaur “can be considered one of the largest titanosaurs,” experts said, with a probable body mass exceeding or comparable to that of a Patagotitan or Argentinosaurus.

Patagotitans may have been the world’s largest terrestrial animal of all time, and weighed up to 77 tons, while Argentinosaurus were similarly gargantuan, and measured up to 40 meters (131 feet) and weighed up to 110 tons — weighing more than 12 times more than an African elephant (up to 9 tons).

Experts believe that the specimen strongly suggests the co-existence of larger titanosaurs together with medium-sized titanosaurs and small-sized rebbachisaurids at the beginning of the Late Cretaceous period, which began 101 million years ago.

“These size differences could indeed explain the existence of such sauropod diversity in the Neuquén Basin during the Late Cretaceous in terms of niche partitioning,” they wrote.

Researchers said that, while they don’t believe the creature to belong to a new species, they have so far been unable to assign it to a known genus of dinosaur.

The research was conducted by Argentina’s The Zapala Museum, Museo de La Plata, Museo Egidio Feruglio and the universities of Río Negro and Zaragoza.

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