NASA – An extraordinary outburst produced by a black hole in a nearby galaxy has provided direct evidence for a population of old, volatile stellar black holes. The discovery, made by astronomers using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, provides new insight into the nature of a mysterious class of black holes that can produce as much energy in X-rays as a million suns radiate at all wavelengths.
Researchers used Chandra to discover a new ultraluminous X-ray source, or ULX. These objects give off more X-rays than most binary systems, in which a companion star orbits the remains of a collapsed star. These collapsed stars form either a dense core called a neutron star or a black hole. The extra X-ray emission suggests ULXs contain black holes that might be much more massive than the ones found elsewhere in our galaxy.
A paper describing these results will appear in the May 10, 2012, issue of The Astrophysical Journal. Image Credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Curtin University/R. Soria et al., Optical: NASA/STScI/ Middlebury College/F. Winkler et al.
FRANCE 24 – It was billed as “The Final Confrontation” and that’s exactly what millions of TV viewers across France got Wednesday night as incumbent French President Nicolas Sarkozy squared off against his Socialist challenger, François Hollande, in an intensely contested face-off, the only debate of the 2012 campaign.
Hollande’s strategy centered on criticising the French president’s economic policies during his five years in office, a period that saw France lose its AAA credit rating and the number of jobless people reach four million.
But Sarkozy took a critical position from the start, maintaining he was being unfairly blamed for France’s economic problems after years of crisis, and insisted he’s not “the only guilty one.’ more> http://is.gd/gm0i9K
R&D Mag – Scientists are reporting development and successful testing of the first self-propelled “microsubmarines” designed to pick up droplets of oil from contaminated waters and transport them to collection facilities.
Joseph Wang and colleagues explain that different versions of microengines have been developed. There is an urgent need for better ways of separating oil from water in the oceans and inside factories to avoid releasing oil-contaminated water to the environment. more> http://is.gd/zwPAMO
By Chris Barton – [New Zealand] On May 4 the Commerce Commission will release revised prices for Chorus’s unbundled copper network which will once again highlight the pig’s ear the government has made of telecommunications here. I know what you’re thinking. Who cares about copper when the future is fibre and ultra fast broadband (UFB)?
But the truth is most of us are going to be on copper – for the so called “last mile” to our homes for years to come. I’ve just checked the areas Chorus has designated will have footpaths dug up for ultra-fast broadband deployment over the year beginning in July and found my suburb (Devonport) isn’t one of them. more> http://is.gd/yQ6WCI