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Science News Staff

Science Ticker


Science Ticker

Colliding black holes are reported for a fifth time

colliding black holes

BLACK HOLE BOUNTY  Gravitational waves have been spotted from two merging black holes (illustrated above), the fifth reported detection.

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Spacetime ripples from black holes are becoming routine.

For a fifth time, scientists have reported the detection of two colliding black holes via their gravitational waves, tiny vibrations that warp the fabric of spacetime. Unlike previous gravitational wave detections, which were heralded with news conferences often featuring panels of scientists squinting at journalists under bright lights, this was a low-key announcement. The event, caught on June 8, 2017, by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, LIGO, was unceremoniously unveiled in a paper published online November 15 at arXiv.org.

With masses 7 and 12 times that of the sun, the pair of black holes was the lightest LIGO has spotted so far. The lack of fanfare over the detection signals a shift. Scientists are now aiming to collect data from many black hole crashes. That data can be analyzed to answer questions about the population as a whole, such as how two black holes get paired up in the first place.

Astronomy

New camera on Palomar telescope will seek out supernovas, asteroids and more

By Lisa Grossman 12:00pm, November 14, 2017
The Zwicky Transient Facility at Palomar Observatory in California will seek supernovas, black holes and asteroids.
Quantum Physics,, Computing

Quantum computers take a step forward with a 50-qubit prototype

By Emily Conover 9:00am, November 10, 2017
Race to build ever-more-powerful processors edges the technology closer to being able to best traditional machines.
Animals,, Agriculture,, Science & Society

EPA OKs first living pest-control mosquito for use in United States

By Susan Milius 6:58pm, November 8, 2017
Feds approve non-GM male tiger mosquitoes for sale as fake dads to suppress local pests.
Astronomy,, Planetary Science

NASA wants your help naming New Horizons’ next destination

By Mike Denison 2:00pm, November 7, 2017
NASA’s New Horizons mission team is asking the public to vote on a nickname for the spacecraft’s next destination.
Paleontology,, Evolution,, Ecology

What male bias in the mammoth fossil record says about the animal’s social groups

By Carolyn Gramling 12:15pm, November 2, 2017
Male woolly mammoths were more often caught in natural traps that preserved their remains, DNA evidence suggests.
Materials,, Technology

Nobel Prize–winning technique illuminates the fibers that set off battery fires

By Maria Temming 2:00pm, October 26, 2017
Scientists get a closer look at the filaments that ruin lithium-ion batteries from the inside out.
Astronomy,, Planetary Science

Dawn spacecraft will keep orbiting the dwarf planet Ceres indefinitely

By Lisa Grossman 3:15pm, October 20, 2017
NASA just gave the Dawn spacecraft a second mission extension to orbit Ceres indefinitely.
Astronomy

Measured distance within the Milky Way gives clues to what our galaxy looks like

By Lisa Grossman 2:45pm, October 12, 2017
Astronomers used an old but challenging technique to directly measure the distance to a star on the opposite side of the galaxy for the first time.
Animals,, Oceans,, Conservation

New deep-sea sponge could play a starring role in monitoring ocean health

By Carolyn Gramling 7:00am, October 10, 2017
A new species of sponge that dwells on metal-rich rocks could help scientists track the environmental impact of deep-sea mining.
Animals,, Paleontology

Ancient whale turns up on wrong side of the world

By Laurel Hamers 12:00pm, October 9, 2017
A Southern Hemisphere whale species was briefly a northern resident.
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