• Fri. Dec 8th, 2023

Starting with a bang podcast #95 – Supermassive black holes and more

Starting with a bang podcast #95 – Supermassive black holes and more
Starts with a Bang Podcast #95 – Supermassive Black Holes and More – Big Think Skip to content

Starting with a bang –

What are supermassive black holes, how common are they, and how do they grow throughout cosmic history? Listen and find out!

This is the first mid-infrared image of Stephen’s Quintet taken by the James Webb Space Telescope. The galaxy at the very top right of the image displays a striking spiky pattern: evidence of a previously undetected supermassive black hole.

Courtesy: NASA, ESA, CSA, STSci

Key takeaways

  • Although most black holes in the universe revolve around the mass of a massive star, almost every galaxy has a supermassive black hole at its center.
  • Growing to millions or billions of times the mass of our Sun, these cosmic giants power the largest individual engines in the known universe.
  • Over the past few years, even since the beginning of the JWST era, we have learned a great deal about these cosmic objects. Me and Dr. Join Alison Kirkpatrick

Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that we’ve come as far as we have, scientifically, in such a short amount of time. It was only in the 1990s that we began to gather the first strong evidence for supermassive black holes, yet in 30 years we have been studying them, their effects, and their environments. All over the universe: From the present day to less than 1 billion years after the Big Bang.

We now believe that almost all galaxies in the Universe produce not only black holes from the corpses of the most massive stars within them, but also supermassive ones that reside at the centers of these cosmic objects. Occasionally, these supermassive black holes collect matter and swallow some of it, turning it on in a spectacular display. As we learn about how the universe grows in terms of stars, atoms, and gases, we begin to learn how these supermassive black holes evolve and grow.

Here, I am more than happy to guide us through the latest and greatest scientific discoveries Dr. Welcome to our show, Alison Kirkpatrick. Allison is a professor at the University of Kansas who specializes in supermassive black holes, from X-rays to radio observations and beyond. Join us on this exciting journey into the heart of one of our greatest cosmic mysteries and see what it’s like at the frontiers of science here at Starts with a Bang!

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