Seeding The Supermassive

In the early Universe, things were quite different.  The first stars were much more massive than stars today, and contained mostly Hydrogen.  Astronomers have good ideas about how they formed, but other objects from around this time, namely black holes, are much tougher to account for.  Early black holes were huge, with no explanation for how they grew so large.  “Early” means “first Billion years after the Big Bang,” but even in that time, it’s hard to determine how observed black holes could grow as large as 100,000 solar masses. I say 100,000 solar masses, because that is the mass of two ‘seed’ black holes, discovered...

Motivation Monday (on Tuesday): Rest and Recovery

When I was younger, I could get away with pulling an all-nighter, eating like garbage, and never taking a break.  As I get older, I find it’s much easier to burn out.  I feel the effects of a poor diet or a late night, and I need the extra time to recover at the end of a long week. Over the past few months, I’ve been getting used to waking up at 5am, going to the gym, and then going to work for the day.  I watch what I eat, generally avoid alcohol, and enjoy a few cups of delicious coffee...

A Young Giant Galaxy Cluster

In the early universe, there was a huge amount of swirling matter and light that didn’t really have much structure.  Compared to today’s much more regular dotting of galaxy clusters and superclusters, the early universe was all over the place.  But as will all things, there had to be a first.  a first star, a first galaxy, and even a first galaxy cluster. The massive cluster of galaxies known as IDCS J1426.5+3508 is the most distant massive galaxy cluster ever discovered, and it has some interesting properties that point to how it formed and evolved so quickly.  One such property is...

Planets to See: October 2015

The month of October has some promising sights for Astronomers and the public, though only if you are an early riser.  The intricate pre-dawn dance of the Planets Venus, Mars, and Jupiter continues from it’s initial soiree in September, with a couple of close passes throughout the month that are must-see.  Early on in the month, the waning crescent moon passes the group and gives us a perspective on the plane of the Solar System.  By month’s end, the planets will continue to shift around as they are joined by Mercury, slowly rising above the morning Sun.  Here are a...