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Like mother, like (adopted) daughter Baby bats act like their adoptive mothers, according to a Tel Aviv University study, published in BMC Biology. The researchers found that rural bat babies adopted by urban mothers took on traits of urban bats, like boldness. They found the same effect when urban babies were adopted by rural mothers. … Continue reading You may have missed…

Hidden black hole found in extragalactic star cluster

Astronomers have just unveiled a black hole from another galaxy, hiding deep within a bright cluster of a thousand stars. The black hole doesn’t emit any light visible to telescopes; its presence was betrayed by its gravitational influence on the nearby stars. This marks the first time that a black hole has been spotted outside … Continue reading Hidden black hole found in extragalactic star cluster

Black holes belch out intergalactic smoke

Astronomers have just watched the evolution of streamers of gas around an active black hole – and they look a bit like the smoke produced by a volcanic eruption. The team used the ultra-sensitive Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR) in the Netherlands, as well as the Spektr-RG space observatory, to study a system of 20 galaxies called … Continue reading Black holes belch out intergalactic smoke

Could black holes power alien civilisations?

For centuries, humans have gazed up and wondered if we are alone in the universe. In 1960, physicist Freeman Dyson changed the conversation by suggesting some cool celestial tech that would allow us to more easily detect signs of alien civilisations. Dyson suggested that if an alien society’s energy needs outstripped the supply of its … Continue reading Could black holes power alien civilisations?

How big is a black hole? Watch how it eats

A new study in Science has revealed that the feeding patterns of a black hole can tell us about its size. Supermassive black holes (SMBH) are voracious, using their powerful gravitational pull to gobble up immense amounts of gas, dust and stars. When actively consuming matter, they release dazzling bursts of radiation-like burps, in flickering … Continue reading How big is a black hole? Watch how it eats

First light detected from behind a black hole

For the first time, astrophysicists have caught sight of light reflected from behind a black hole, proving Einstein right yet again. You may have heard that nothing – not even light – can escape a black hole, but this isn’t strictly true. Anything that crosses the event horizon is forever lost, but the hot disc … Continue reading First light detected from behind a black hole

Jet black: ‘little’ black holes emulate their supergiant siblings

Just like younger siblings, ‘little’ black holes do their best to act the same as big ones, according to a study published in Nature Astronomy. An international team, including researchers from CSIRO, used the Event Horizon Telescope – the telescope that captured the first Messier 87 black hole image – to image the heart of … Continue reading Jet black: ‘little’ black holes emulate their supergiant siblings

Gravitational waves from black holes swallowing neutron stars

Earlier this week, scientists announced an exciting discovery made with made with gravitational waves: the first confirmed detection of black holes swallowing neutron stars. Published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, the study required input from scientists around the world, including Australians based at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav). Cosmos spoke … Continue reading Gravitational waves from black holes swallowing neutron stars

Black hole mergers? 44 confirmed, and counting

A global network of scientists has completed the first major analysis of gravitational wave data, providing exciting insights into some of the most exotic objects in the Universe. “We are announcing the discovery of 44 confirmed black hole mergers, which is a more than a four-fold increase in the number of previously known gravitational-wave signals,” … Continue reading Black hole mergers? 44 confirmed, and counting

Nobels start with a double triple

The start of Nobel Prize week in 2020 has been very much a shared experience. Last night, Australian time, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced that three Laureates would share this year’s prize in Physics for their discoveries about one of the most exotic phenomena in the Universe, the black hole. This follows Monday’s … Continue reading Nobels start with a double triple

Galaxies trapped in web of a giant black hole

Astronomers have detected six galaxies lying around a supermassive black hole when the Universe was less than a billion years old. It is the first time such a close grouping has been seen so soon after the Big Bang, they say, and the finding supports the theory that black holes can grow rapidly within large, … Continue reading Galaxies trapped in web of a giant black hole

Black holes merge to create something huge

Astronomers from the international LIGO and Virgo Scientific Collaboration have reported their biggest catch yet – a black hole 142 times the mass of the Sun likely resulting from the merger of two black holes of 85 and 65 solar masses. The remnant black hole is the most massive ever observed with gravitational waves and … Continue reading Black holes merge to create something huge