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Science!: Black Holes, Night Vision and Garbage

Lauren Admire | 14 Sep 2009 21:00
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There Can Never Be Enough Black Holes

Despite there being evidence for the existence of tens of thousands of black holes in the universe, they've proven difficult for scientists to study, being nearly invisible, as well as the tiny issue of being spaghettified if you get too close.

Remember the controversy surrounding CERN and the possibility that it could create an infinitesimal black hole that would grow larger and larger, eventually consuming the Earth? If you don't remember, here's a quick breakdown:

CERN is a gigantic facility built on the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva that hosts a Large Hadron Collider, a machine that basically throws tiny particles at each other at incredibly high speeds. When the particles collide, there's just the tiniest chance that a black hole could be created. The conversation between us and the researchers at CERN went thusly:

PETTY HUMANS: BLACK HOLES ARE BAD AND MAYBE WE SHOULDN'T BRING ABOUT THE APOCALYPSE IN THE NAME OF SCIENCE.

CERN: NO WAI! YOU GUYZ R DUM LOL THE BLACK HOLE WUD BE SO SMALL IT WUD COLLAPSE IN ON ITSELF MROW.

Well, apparently you can't have too many black hole-creating machines.

Researchers at Dartmouth College are developing a new way of recreating black holes - albeit tinier, more controllable versions of them. Using microwave transmissions containing SQUIDs (Superconducting Quantum Interference Devices), the researchers can emulate the physics of a radiating black hole. Just to reiterate: An actual black hole is not being created, just an imitation of one.

They hope to study Stephen Hawking's eponymous radiation theory, which states that despite the strong gravitational pull of black holes that typically consumes everything, sometimes photons can be emitted. The theory has been accepted in the scientific community, but has never been tested or verified on an actual black hole.

Source: Science Daily

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