Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Discovery Makes Black Holes More Puzzling

‘A new survey revealing more than a thousand supermassive black holes in one region of the sky calls into question a popular model of how the gravity monsters behave. [..]

Typically, a black hole is surrounded by a doughnut-shaped region, or torus, of gas. The view of the black hole’s immediate surroundings is blocked by this torus by different amounts, depending on the orientation whether we’re looking through it edge-on or looking down on the setup from above, the thinking goes. [..]

“Instead of finding a whole range, we found nearly all of the black holes are either naked or covered by a dense veil of gas,” said Ryan Hickox of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “Very few are in between, which makes us question how well we know the environment around these black holes.”‘

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