Tag Archives: APM

Astronomers discover black hole with 140 trillion times more water than Earth

Two teams of astronomers have discovered the largest and farthest reservoir of water ever detected in the universe. The water, equivalent to 140 trillion times all the water in the world’s ocean, surrounds a huge, feeding black hole, called a quasar, more than 12 billion light-years away.

“The environment around this quasar is very unique in that it’s producing this huge mass of water,” said Matt Bradford, a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “It’s another demonstration that water is pervasive throughout the universe, even at the very earliest times.”

A quasar is powered by an enormous black hole that steadily consumes a surrounding disk of gas and dust. As it eats, the quasar spews out huge amounts of energy. Both groups of astronomers studied a particular quasar called APM 08279+5255, which harbors a black hole 20 billion times more massive than the sun and produces as much energy as a thousand trillion suns.

Astronomers expected water vapor to be present even in the early, distant universe, but had not detected it this far away before. There’s water vapor in the Milky Way, although the total amount is 4,000 times less than in the quasar, because most of the Milky Way’s water is frozen in ice.

 

And, the instruments they used:

Bradford’s team made their observations starting in 2008, using an instrument called “Z-Spec” at the California Institute of Technology’s Submillimeter Observatory, a 33-foot (10-meter) telescope near the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Follow-up observations were made with the Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-Wave Astronomy (CARMA), an array of radio dishes in the Inyo Mountains of Southern California.

The second group, led by Dariusz Lis, senior research associate in physics at Caltech and deputy director of the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory, used the Plateau de Bure Interferometer in the French Alps to find water.

 

Source: NASA - Astronomers Find Largest, Most Distant Reservoir of Water

 

 

Continue reading

Podcasts Are Saving My Life

I’m such a huge fan of podcasts that it’s insane. See I have this eye problem that prevents me from reading too much. My day job is in technology and my hobby is writing so I have no ‘good eyes’ left for everything else.

That’s where podcasts come in. I can listen to them while walking, cleaning, and building (my three other hobbies). It’s such a perfect blend that I want to share with you my favorites:

  • This Week in Tech
  • Slate Political Gabfest
  • Bloomberg Presents Lewis Lapham
  • History of Rome
  • Melvyn Bragg – In Our Time
  • The Economist (all of the shows)
  • APM: Marketplace Morning Report

The interesting thing about these shows are that none of them are from traditional TV/Radio. Half of them are writers of print media talking about their work. An interesting trend I expect to scare the beejeesus out of Hollywood.

Here are my second tier shows that I still listen to vehemently:

  • Slate Cultural Gabfest
  • Slate Hang Up And Listen
  • Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History
  • Tech News Today
  • Buzz Out Loud
  • TED Talks
  • NBC Meet The Press
  • APM: Marketplace
  • APM: The Splendid Table

Sorry for the lack of links but you can Google (or iTunes search) these titles and I guarantee you will find them.

Do you listen to any of these?