Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Scientists devise method of studying extremely distant black holes

From ScienceDaily:

Astronomers now have a new, simple method to study black holes up to eight billion light years away – thousands of times farther away than black holes can be measured today. researchers have concluded that the larger the black hole at the center of a spiral galaxy, the tighter the galaxy’s arms wrap around itself. If correct, the simple relationship would give astronomers an easy way to determine the size of the masses of super-massive black holes at the centers of galaxies at extreme distances. Since super-massive black holes were discovered in nearby galaxies, researchers have been determining their masses by looking at how fast the stars were moving in the very central regions of those galaxies. But that method only works for relatively nearby galaxies. One of the important reasons to learn about the every distant black holes is, when you are looking at galaxies very far away, you are looking at them as they were in the past, so you can learn about how masses of black holes grow over time.

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