Getting the Hole story

New York Times:
At 9 a.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, a group of astronomers who run a globe-girdling network of radio telescopes called the Event Horizon Telescope are expected to unveil the first-ever images of a black hole.
For some years now, scientific literature, news media and films have featured remarkably sophisticated and academic computer simulations of black holes. If all has gone well, the images today will reveal the real thing, and scientists at last will catch a glimpse of what had seemed unseeable.

A number of news conferences are being held around the world. You can watch one news conference on the National Science Foundation’s website… [continues]


36 thoughts on “Getting the Hole story”

  1. more from NYT:

    Black holes are objects so dense that nothing, not even light, can escape from their gravity. They were predicted by the equations of Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity, as solved by the German physicist Karl Schwarzschild in 1915. That theory ascribes gravity to the warping of space and time by matter and energy, much as a mattress sags under a sleeper.

    Actual images would provide a final, ringing affirmation of an idea so disturbing that even Einstein, from whose equations black holes emerged, was loath to accept it.

    Astrophysicists think that supermassive black holes are the engines that generate the prodigious energies of quasars and other explosive galactic nuclei. Doomed, superheated gas swirls around the hole, like water around a drain, and is forced out the sides as an enormous cosmic blowtorch. Today’s images could show how this process works.


    It might be circular, oval or some other shape entirely, depending on whether it is rotating, or if the Einsteinian equations describing it are slightly wrong, or if it is spitting flares of energy, which is how quasars produce fireworks visible across the universe.


  2. twit’s tax returns, another black hole

    wapo editorial board:  Mulvaney’s tax return stonewall is either misinformed — or sinister

    CONGRESS WILL “never” see President Trump’s tax returns. That’s what acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney declared on Sunday.


    How does he know?


    Would the White House stop the Internal Revenue Service from turning over the files? Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin revealed Tuesday that Treasury Department attorneys discussed the issue with White House lawyers, despite laws meant to minimize White House interference in the IRS.


    Or was Mr. Mulvaney saying that the executive branch would ignore a judicial ruling ordering disclosure? Mr. Trump last week reportedly told immigration authorities to ignore judicial orders.


    Or was Mr. Mulvaney just embarrassingly wrong on the law governing Congress’s power to demand individual tax returns?


    As with so many puzzling statements from administration officials, Mr. Mulvaney’s had two interpretations, one sinister and one foolish. The Democrats who have demanded Mr. Trump’s returns anchored their request in an obscure but powerful federal law, which commands that the treasury secretary “shall furnish” congressional committees “with any return or return information” upon request.

    William S. Consovoy, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, argued in a Friday letter to the Treasury Department that the Democrats have “no legitimate committee purpose for requesting the President’s tax returns” and that their “request is a transparent effort by one political party to harass an official from the other party because they dislike his politics and speech.”


    The Democrats’ rationale may or may not be persuasive to Mr. Consovoy, or to other observers who see political motives behind the tax-return request. But the Democratic request clearly falls within the boundaries of permissible congressional action. Given the clarity of the law and Congress’s wide legal discretion to conduct investigations, no judge is likely to rule that House Democrats are abusing their powers.


    Setting aside the legal question, Mr. Trump has been wrong to conceal his tax information from Congress and the public. Mr. Mulvaney argued Sunday that the president got elected anyway, so the issue is settled. Actually, Mr. Trump won an election in which he repeatedly promised to release his returns. He is well past due to keep his promise.

    When they enter the presidential fray, candidates lose the reasonable expectations of privacy that ordinary Americans have. That includes Donald Trump in 2016 and, now, the Democrats vying to replace him. Since the 1970s, presidents have released their tax returns so the public can glimpse how their leaders conduct their private affairs. Given Mr. Trump’s sprawling personal business, public disclosure is all the more important.


    Congress should pass a resolution insisting that every president and major-party presidential candidate should disclose their tax returns, both current and going back some appropriate period of time. Doing so would make clear no president can duck the responsibility to be transparent, and it would save the House Ways and Means Committee from relying on an old, obscure law to make the point. This is a norm that deserves to be restored — and made mandatory.

  3. If you like black hole and other space and astrophysics stuff the Science Channel has a couple of really good series- How the Universe Works and  Space’s Deepest Secrets. Black holes are featured prominently in both. The difference between those astrophysical black holes and the SFB administration black holes is that there is a reasoned explanation for the former.


    WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General William Barr is returning to Capitol Hill for a second time this week as lawmakers, the White House and the American public anxiously await his release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report .

    Barr will speak to a Senate appropriations subcommittee Wednesday, the second of two days of hearings about his department’s budget. Like members of the House on Tuesday, senators are expected to be more interested in the nearly 400-page document than the budget details. Barr told the House lawmakers that he expects to release a redacted version “within a week.”


    At the House hearing, Barr bluntly defended himself, arguing that portions of the document need to be redacted to comply with the law. He said he’s open to eventually releasing some of the redacted material after consulting with congressional leaders, but he drew a line at releasing grand jury material, which would require court approval. He said Democrats are “free to go to court” themselves and ask for the grand jury information.


  5. KC,  they’re big suckers. Luckily for us the closest one is likely the one in the center of our galaxy- 27,000 or so light years away. (That’s 157 trillion miles away). I don’t mind long road trips, but that’s a bit much.

  6. Thanks Pogo

    I won’t sign up for that trip

    Looks like Tim Ryan is going to eat into Biden’s stranglehold on organized labor

  7. patd…  I think those scientists in your 6:27 cartoon should look at the black hole in the other end too.

  8. Now, we’ll see if bibi can cobble together a government. If he can, his party will once again be a minority within a shaky coalition, and possibly in a minority government at that. Who knows, if he wants to rule, he may have to give a cabinet post to the Arab party or the commies.

  9. Ms Renee, Whaddaya call ’em ? Procto-astronomers ?  asstronomers ? celasstialists ? Starectalonomists ?

  10. National Science Foundation/EHT Press Conference Announcing First Image of Black Hole

    Press conference starts at 33:00 minutes.


  11. On April 10, 2019, the international Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration revealed humanity’s first glimpse of a black hole.
    Learn more:
    Download free posters of the M87 black hole and the EHT:

    The EHT Collaboration consists of 13 stakeholder institutes; the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, the University of Arizona, the University of Chicago, the East Asian Observatory, Goethe-Universitaet Frankfurt, Institut de Radioastronomie Millimétrique, Large Millimeter Telescope, Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, MIT Haystack Observatory, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Radboud University and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.

  12. XR – that’s only if it were moving toward us at the speed of light. I’m willing to take my chances.

    Renee, only cartoon scientists would undertake that examination.

  13. Mr Pogo, You can stay if you want, but I’m getting out of here.

    Besides, it’s SNOWING OUTSIDE !AIEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  14. XR – I saw that you were going to get snow – and potentially a lot of it. Hope you didn’t put the snow shovel away yet.

  15. Who are the two cabinet members who wanted to use the 25th Amendment to remove trump ?

    I’m guessing pence was one.

    The other could be Mattis, Coats, sessions, or chao.

  16. Weird thing of the day, while streaming 30 Rock on Hulu a commercial from Hasbro came on.  That was not interesting, it was seeing that “adult supervision needed for setup” of Twister.  I have not played Twister since the early eighties, but it does not look like it has changed since then.  You lay out a piece of plastic and a spinner.  Good grief.


    Think Barr will end up in jail?  Odds are not high, but he might.

  17. MU Law Poll – Looks pretty wide open

    “Respondents were asked for each candidate if that person would be a top choice, an acceptable choice, someone they would not support, or if they haven’t heard enough about the candidate yet.”

  18. Oh god. I was flipping and just caught 2 minutes of Fucker Carlson. He is so bad he isn’t worthy of licking Hannity’s balls. Jesus phucking kuhrist.

  19. Apropos of today’s news, the Science Channel has How the Universe Works, Black Holes Revealed. (If you give a damn)

    Ms Sherry
    Born September 4 1953  passed away April 7 2019

    Neighborhood activist
    Road warrior
    Fellow Conspirator
    In her heart, always, the hippy chick
    We miss you darlin’

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