Tuesday, December 20, 2011

NASA finds smallest ever black hole by its 'heartbeat' (video)

By   posted Dec 19th 2011 3:07PM

NASA's found the smallest black hole it's ever seen, thanks to the Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) -- weighing three times less than our own sun, it's near the bottom weight limit for the super-heavy phenomena. It was discovered by its unique "heartbeat", an X-Ray emission that takes place when gas sucked from a nearby star is swirled around the event horizon until friction causes it to super-heat. The disc then repeats the process every 40 seconds and when examined, looks just like the readout on anECG machine. After the break we've got a video that talks you through it all and we won't mind if you start booming "Space... the final frontier..." halfway through -- we did too.

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