A new online tool calculates just how much cosmic destruction a run-in between the Earth and a black hole would cause.
The aptly-named Black Hole Collision Calculator determines how much a black hole would expand and the amount of energy it would release if it absorbed the Earth — or any other object, since the calculator is totally customizable, Space.com reports.
Particle physicist Álvaro Díez created the tool, which is hosted on the calculator database project Omni Calculator. Based on his calculations, a black hole swallowing the Earth would release some 55 quintillion times the planet’s annual energy consumption.
But even that destructive event would be a light snack for a supermassive black hole — its event horizon would only expand by a hundredth of a trillionth of a percent, per the calculator.
The main flaw with the calculator? The artistic rendering of a black hole obliterating the Earth that pops up next to the results doesn’t change to match any increasingly goofy collisions.
A team of NASA scientists have caught three supermassive black holes in the act of merging together, a billion light-years away from Earth.
“Dual and triple black holes are exceedingly rare,” said researcher Shobita Satyapal, from George Mason University, in a statement. “But such systems are actually a natural consequence of galaxy mergers, which we think is how galaxies grow and evolve.”
Satyapal’s team made the rare discovery using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory telescope, as well as NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer spacecraft and the Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona.
It’s an exceedingly rare sight that is unusually hard to spot thanks to giant shrouds of gas and dust surrounding the black holes. But by combining data from the two space telescopes and the Arizona-based telescope back on Earth, the scientists were able to make the discovery.
The team published its findings in the latest issue of The Astrophysical Journal. They used optical light data from the three telescopes.
“Optical spectra contain a wealth of information about a galaxy,” said co-author Christina Manzano-King from the University of California in the statement. “They are commonly used to identify actively accreting supermassive black holes and can reflect the impact they have on the galaxies they inhabit.”
Physicists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison built a swirling orb of plasma they’re calling a “miniature Sun” — so they can study how stars work up close.
The mini-sun, complete with its own powerful electromagnetic field, will help the scientists understand solar wind as well as how the real Sun occasionally blasts out plasma, according toSpace.com. The mini-sun has been in the works since 2012, and could help scientists gain a better understanding of some of the Sun’s more mysterious behavior.
Our sun is a constantly-swirling ball of superhot plasma. Sometimes, some of that plasma gets ejected out into the cosmos. But the mechanics of how and why it happens aren’t fully understood, according to the team’s research, published this week in the journal Nature Physics.
The mini-Sun recreates those ejections through what Space.comcalls “plasma burps”. The first time the Big Red Ball burped up, it came as a surprise to the physicists. But since then, the ejections have given the physicists a hands-on way to understand how the Sun behaves and why.
“NASA’s Parker Solar Probe will be the first-ever mission to “touch” the sun. The spacecraft, about the size of a small car, will travel directly into the sun’s atmosphere about 4 million miles from our star’s surface. Launch is slated for summer 2018.“
“ The probe will orbit within 4 million miles (6.4 million kilometers) of the sun’s “surface,” where the probe will “[face]heat and radiation unlike any spacecraft in history,” according to a statement from NASA. Mercury, by contrast, orbits the sun at a distance of between 28 and 43 million miles (46 and 70 million km), and the constant stream of radiation and powerful particle storms from the sun have utterly transformed that planet’s surface and atmosphere.”
On November 25, 1915, 35-year-old Albert Einstein presented a series of equations to the Prussian Academy of Sciences. Einstein’s ideas came to be known as the general theory of relativity. The universe never be the same.