Black Holes and Exploding Stars

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New telescope technologies and powerful computer simulations are revealing the violent events that shape our cosmos.

2 Seasons, 23 Episodes
April 1, 2016
Black Holes and Exploding Stars

Black Holes and Exploding Stars Full Episode Guide

  • Measurements of unprecedented detail returned by Japan's Hitomi satellite have allowed scientists to track the motion of X-ray-emitting gas at the heart of the Perseus cluster of galaxies for the first time. Located about 240 million light-years away and named for its host constellation, the Perseus galaxy cluster contains a vast amount of extremely hot gas.

  • The Crab Nebula courtesy of NASA. Created by a supernova seen nearly a thousand years ago, it's one of the sky's most famous "star wrecks." Now, high-energy sensors are probing its mysterious rumblings.

  • Find out what astronomers have been learning when they look deep into the core of giant galaxies. In nearly every one, they are turning up supermassive black holes that are tearing space to shreds, blasting away at their environments, and raging against the relentless force of gravity that created them in the first place.

  • Eta Carinae is a binary system containing the most luminous and massive star within 10,000 light-years. A long-term study produces the most comprehensive picture of this strange system. From NASA.

  • Scientists have further narrowed the search for a hypothetical particle that could be dark matter, the mysterious stuff that makes up 80 percent of all the mass in the universe. This video from NASA Astrophysics presents the new results, compiled from two years' worth of data from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.

  • Astronomers using NASA's Swift satellite recently detected a rise in high-energy X-rays from a source toward the center of our Milky Way galaxy. The outburst, produced by a rare X-ray nova, came from a previously unknown stellar-mass black hole.

  • Armed with powerful supercomputers, scientists simulated the jets that roar out of neutron stars at the moment of collision. From NASA Astrophysics.

  • Supercomputer models of merging black holes reveal properties that are crucial to understanding future detections of gravitational waves. This movie follows two orbiting black holes and their accretion disk during their final three orbits and ultimate merger.

  • Astronomers observed a fairly small explosion of light burst off the lower right limb of the sun. Magnetic field lines in this area of the sun's atmosphere began to twist and kink, causing the hottest solar material to trace out a strange slinky shape.

  • This video is based on recent findings made by astronomers using the Chandra X-Ray Observatory and the Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer of a pulsing "heartbeat" coming from the binary star-black hole system GRS-1915.

  • The rapid response system of the Very Large Telescope in Chile goes after fleeting gamma ray bursts.

  • The famous Crab Nebula supernova remnant has erupted in an enormous flare five times more powerful than any flare previously seen from the object. From NASA Astrophysics

  • An international team of scientists using NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has discovered a surprisingly powerful millisecond pulsar that challenges existing theories about how these objects form.

  • A fascinating new simulation from NASA shows how astronomers might use black holes to look for signs of a theoretical dark matter particle called a WIMP, short for Weakly Interacting Massive Particle.

  • Take a ride on the Black Hole Flight Simulator, courtesy of Professor Andrew Hamilton.

  • An immense, thick cloud of dust is gathering around the center of our galaxy. Here's what will happen in about 10 million years when the cloud collapses into a supermassive black hole.

  • Astronomers recently discovered the largest known reservoir of rare metals in the universe in the central region of the Perseus galaxy cluster, including vast amounts of chromium. Thumbnail: "The Robot (3) 20102007" by Emile Noordeloos.

  • A 26,000 light year zoom takes us into the heart of the Milky Way galaxy. The speeds and orbits of stars were used to calculate the mass of the central object, a black hole of 4 million solar masses. From ESO.

  • Newborn stars firing out jets of matter as seen in images captured over time by the Hubble Space Telescope. Scientists have created fascinating movie sequences showing their progress out into space.

  • Cygnus OB2, located about 4,700 light-years away, hosts some 3,000 hot stars, including about 100 in the O class. Weighing in at more than a dozen times the sun's mass and sporting surface temperatures five to ten times hotter, these ginormous blue-white stars blast their surroundings with intense ultraviolet light and powerful outflows called stellar winds.

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