Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Space News

Wow, I think this is the first post actually about research in astronomy.

I came across this space.com article about research into quasars. Its pretty good, I'm really only posting this because I seem to spend an awful lot of time arguing with Arpians about whether Quasars are in fact supermassive black holes in galaxies very far away (they are) or if they are objects ejected from nearby galaxies (they most certainly are not). This work just puts another nail in the coffin of Arps ideas, its actually getting pretty crowded on that coffin lid, I'm not sure they'll be able to fit many more nails in.

Anyway back to the science, the research led by Xinyu Dai and Christopher Kochanek of Ohio State University looked at a pair of quasars that have been gravitationally lensed by an intervening galaxy. This lensing allowed them to measure the size of the accretion disc of the Black Hole (BH) accurately, finding that the accretion disc is around 14AU (that's 14 Earth orbital radii to us). Its also emitting X-Rays, telling us that the accretion disc is very hot, as you would expect as gas rapidly spirals into the BH.

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