NASA Discover 2.5 Million Super Massive Black Holes
Last Updated on Thursday, 30 August 2012 12:06 Written by JCWaitWat Thursday, 30 August 2012 12:06
Muse only prepared us for one super massive black hole and even with Dr Who to return on Saturday this discovery, made by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) telescope, is pretty hard to believe. Out of this world almost. The telescope was sent on a 14 month mission during which it photographed the universe twice. Following this momentous task was an even more momentous task of sorting and sifting through all the data collecting by the telescope. Astronomers have been surprised to find this “bonanza” of black holes- three times more than any other survey.
While regular black holes are a terrifying cosmic horror that only ever seem to pose a problem in Science Fiction, super massive black holes are, obviously, much bigger- think millions to billions times larger than our sun. Known as “quasars” they only appear as a tiny blip on the infra red spectrum, despite their enormous size. However WISE’s ultra sensitive instrumentation means it’s like finding a needle in a haystack with a super magnet. According to Daniel Stern, from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, ”…we’ve got the black holes cornered, WISE is finding them across the full sky, while NuSTAR ( (NASA’s black-hole hunting Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array) is giving us an entirely new look at their high-energy X-ray light and learning what makes them tick.” [io9]