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Nov 29 2012

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why I read el reg

The Register today carries a story about the discovery of a truly massive black hole named “SDSS J1106+1939” at the center of a dying galaxy. That black hole is reported to be emitting energy “equivalent to two trillion times the power output of the sun.”

The story itself is classic Reg material and is covered in only rather scant detail, but the commentary by Reg readers make the story worthwhile.

“frank ly” says:

Big and complicated science made accessible.

” … while our Milky Way galaxy has a relatively piddly black hole at its heart, the one found in quasar SDSS J1106+1939 is

whopping.”

That’s why I read The Register.

“gizmo23” follows with some explanatory arithmetic:

Head crunching numbers

So, off the top of my head the sun’s power is about 3 x 10^26 W and there are about 10^11 stars in our galaxy…

and to top it all, it’s 100 times more power than that which is 3 x 10^39 W, divide by c^2 (lets say 10^17) equals 3 x 10^22

kg of matter converted to energy per second… And as the Earth’s mass is approx 6 x 10^24 kg that’s 1/200 the mass of the

earth converted from matter to energy every second.. ooh my brain hurts

and Neil Barnes notes:

Energy output like that…

You could make toast really really quickly.

Just sayin’.

That quality of discussion is just not available in run of the mill publications such as Nature, or Scientific American.

Permanent link to this article: http://baldric.net/2012/11/29/why-i-read-el-reg/

2 comments

  1. Mr X

    What’s more, I know that one of those El Reg 10 gold badge(r)s also reads *your* blog :) :)

  2. Mick

    Badgers?? Badgers?? Can they read? If so, perhaps we should cull them.

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