Ask Ethan #15: The Universe's Most Massive Black Holes

“It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.” –Joseph Campbell Ever since we created a question/suggestion box here, we’ve been deluged by far more excellent questions than one person could possibly answer, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t trying! For this … Read moreAsk Ethan #15: The Universe's Most Massive Black Holes

Black Holes Won't Incinerate You, After All

“You wait for a gem in an endless sea of blah.” –Lawrence Grossman On the one hand, we have General Relativity, our theory of space, time, and gravity. It describes the Universe on both large and small scales perfectly, from the hot Big Bang to our cold accelerating expansion, from vast superclusters of galaxies down … Read moreBlack Holes Won't Incinerate You, After All

How can we see black holes?

“According to the special theory of relativity nothing can travel faster than light, so that if light cannot escape, nothing else can either. The result would be a black hole: a region of space-time from which it is not possible to escape to infinity.” –Stephen Hawking You may have encountered objects that are the same … Read moreHow can we see black holes?

A Spectacular Chance for Gravitational Waves

“There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere.” -Isaac Asimov One of the most spectacular and successful ideas of the 20th Century was Einstein’s General Relativity, or the idea that matter and energy determines the curvature of spacetime, and the curvature of spacetime in turn determines … Read moreA Spectacular Chance for Gravitational Waves

Where do Supermassive Black Holes Come From?

“Black holes, which have no memory, are said to contain the earliest memories of the universe, and the most recent, too, while at the same time obliterating all memory by obliterating all its embodiments. Such paradoxes characterize these strange galactic monsters, for whom creation is destruction, death life, chaos order.” –Robert Coover Our Milky Way, … Read moreWhere do Supermassive Black Holes Come From?