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Ep. 40, Page 48
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Comic 3094 - Ep. 40, Page 48

29th Apr 2020, 7:55 PM in Episode 40 :: Save My Place | Load My Place
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Author Notes:

smbhax 29th Apr 2020, 7:55 PM edit delete
smbhax
The BBC just posted an article about supermassive black hole binary OJ 287: a 150 million solar mass black hole orbits an 18 billion solar mass black hole in a precessing pattern that causes a bright flare each time it punches through the larger black hole's accretion disc, which happens "twice ever 12 years"; the "outburst of energy is equivalent to a trillion suns turning on at once in the holes' host galaxy."

The article says that examination of a recent observation by the now-retired Spitzer Space Telescope confirmed that the most recent flare occurred within hours of scientists' prediction based on the mass of the black holes, the rotational velocity of the larger black hole, the warping effect the huge mass of these bodies creates on their local space and time, the theorized path of the smaller hole's orbit, and the way that gravitational waves radiating from the interaction of the holes should affect that orbit.

According to Wikipedia, OJ 287, the nucleus of a galaxy 3.5 billion light years away, has been "seen on photographic plates since at least 1887," and its semi-irregular flaring was "first apparent on photographic plates from 1891." The sapping of energy from the binary through gravitational waves is predicted to cause the orbit to decay to the point where the two holes merge in about 10,000 years.

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The original 16" x 6.75" watercolor art for today's new A* page is up for auction on eBay. : )