Welcome to the background page for my February 22, 2011 edition of 365 Days of Astronomy. Today I talk about black holes. It all stems from an entry I made on my blog called Mass Holes, wherein I talked about black holes in general.
I’ve found these objects to be incredibly interesting. Back when I was in school as a kid, black holes were more of a theoretical idea. But, there was no doubt that they’d be found–most astronomers said it was a matter of time and having the right equipment and techniques to detect them.
In the Hubble Space Telescope age, as well as in the radio astronomy age and the x-ray-telescope age, astronomers are now finding evidence for these once-mysterious objects. That evidence includes superheated jets of material streaming away from event horizons surrounding black holes, as well as fantastically strong x-ray and radio emissions from the materials surrounding these giant sucking objects. Now, astronomers are using black holes to probe the history of galaxy formation and evolution, and using stellar-mass black holes to understand the end states of very massive stars. It’s been a heck of a ride for black hole science, and there’s more yet to learn!
For more information about black holes, here are a few useful sites. Most of them have links to other interesting reading about black holes, too.
Black Hole (Wikipedia)
Chandra Guide to X-ray Sources (including black holes)
Media Stories and Pieces about Black Holes
Finally, listeners have been writing asking about the cool background music that shows up on each of my podcasts. It’s all music by Geodesium; this album features a piece from his newly released album Stella Novus. You you can find out more by visiting his web site at Geodesium.com!