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New Kind of Cosmic Flash May Reveal Birth of a Black Hole

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Geplaatst op 05 mei 2013 - 09:51

New Kind of Cosmic Flash May Reveal Birth of a Black Hole

A new kind of cosmic flash may reveal something never seen before: the birth of a black hole.

When a massive star exhausts its fuel, it collapses under its own gravity and produces a black hole, an object so dense that not even light can escape its gravitational grip. According to a new analysis by an astrophysicist at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), just before the black hole forms, the dying star may generate a distinct burst of light that will allow astronomers to witness the birth of a new black hole for the first time.

Tony Piro, a postdoctoral scholar at Caltech, describes this signature light burst in a paper published in the May 1 issue of the Astrophysical Journal Letters. While some dying stars that result in black holes explode as gamma-ray bursts, which are among the most energetic phenomena in the universe, those cases are rare, requiring exotic circumstances, Piro explains. "We don't think most run-of-the-mill black holes are created that way." In most cases, according to one hypothesis, a dying star produces a black hole without a bang or a flash: the star would seemingly vanish from the sky -- an event dubbed an unnova. "You don't see a burst," he says. "You see a disappearance."

Lees verder: http://www.scienceda...30503230417.htm

Bron: http://www.caltech.e...irth-black-hole

Publicatie: http://iopscience.io...8205/768/1/L14/

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