Saturday, January 22, 2011

How Often Do Giant Black Holes Become Hyperactive?

If you've ever wondered how often the biggest black holes have been active over the last few billion years, here are some answers.

Last December (yes, we're a bit late with these news, but they are still hot...) the (NASA) press released a story on "How Often Do Giant Black Holes Become Hyperactive?" (

Here you can read about how supermassive black holes grow and about possible implications for how the giant black hole at the center of the Milky Way will behave in the future. The conclusions are based on the first direct determination of the fraction of field galaxies in the local Universe that contain active supermassive black holes, which is important to know because this is directly related to how often these giant black holes flare up, since that's when they go through a major growth spurt.

Anca Constantin, one of the lively JMU's astropysicists, is a co-author on the paper presenting the science being this story. So, no wonder you are hearing about these fantastic results from this blog.