Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Simulated gravitational lensing (black hole go...
Simulated gravitational lensing (black hole going past a background galaxy). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don't see this kind of interstellar human travel in my lifetime. But a thousand years from now, all bets will be off. Maybe even sooner.

Wrinkles In Spacetime: The Warped Astrophysics Of Interstellar
black holes, as the name suggests, are murder on light ..... Some individual frames took up to 100 hours to render, the computation overtaxed by the bendy bits of distortion caused by an Einsteinian effect called gravitational lensing. In the end the movie brushed up against 800 terabytes of data. “I thought we might cross the petabyte threshold on this one,” von Tunzelmann says. ..... “Chris really wanted us to sell the idea that the black hole is spherical,” Franklin says. “I said, ‘You know, it's going to look like a disk.’ The only thing you can see is the way it warps starlight.” Then Franklin started reading about accretion disks, agglomerations of matter that orbit some black holes. Franklin figured that he could use this ring of orbiting detritus to define the sphere. ...... “We found that warping space around the black hole also warps the accretion disk,” Franklin says. “So rather than looking like Saturn's rings around a black sphere, the light creates this extraordinary halo.” ..... Light, temporarily trapped around the black hole, produced an unexpectedly complex fingerprint pattern near the black hole's shadow. And the glowing accretion disk appeared above the black hole, below the black hole, and in front of it. “I never expected that,” Thorne says. ...... Thorne got a movie that teaches a mass audience some real, accurate science. But he also got something he didn't expect: a scientific discovery. ..... Thorne says he can get at least two published articles out of it. ...... haloed, spinning black hole and galaxy-spanning wormhole are not just metaphors

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