back to article NASA detects 'heartbeat' of pint-sized star-sucker

In what is turning out to be one of the best months ever for black-hole fanbois, a team of Dutch, Italian, and US space boffins has detected the "heartbeat" of what appears to be teensiest, weensiest black hole ever discovered. "Just as the heart rate of a mouse is faster than an elephant's, the heartbeat signals from these …


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  1. Mike48US

    Seriously? Friction? Seems more likely that the x-ray output would be produced by the

    same thing that produced the narrow beam gamma radiation in the old synchrotrons.

    Just a guess on my part...

    1. Chris Miller

      A spectrum easily differentiates between astronomical X-rays produced by synchrotron radiation and hot material. Since matter falling into a black hole can potentially convert a significant fraction of its mass to energy (by friction, tidal and other effects), there's plenty available to heat it to the point where thermal X-rays will be produced.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Launched in 1995 ?

    Designed for a 2-year lifespan, STILL WORKING TODAY ?

    If only cars could be made like that.

    To heck with cars, make a bloody printer like that !

    1. Al42

      Printer !!!

      HP Laserjet 4 When Hp Made stuff that lasted than the Warranty ...

    2. stucs201

      Printers built ok, just need support

      I've seen perfectly good printers (and other peripherals) be replace due to nothing more than lack driver support on current operating systems.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hey, they're halfway there

      you know, designed with a 2-year lifespan...

    4. Trygve Henriksen

      You want the old HP LJ II and III, and in the case of large volume, the IIIsi and 4si...

  3. Arctic fox

    I can't see the............

    ...............attraction myself.

  4. JDX Gold badge

    close to the theoretical "mass boundary" at which the formation of a black hole becomes possible.

    Well maybe it was larger before and evaporated.

    1. Chris Miller

      Nope - a solar mass black hole takes ~2x10^67 years to evaporate completely (and it's an exponential runaway effect, so for the first 10^67 years not much mass is lost), bigger ones correspondingly slower. And with a radiation temperature of 10^-7 K, it would (for the 'foreseeable' future) actually gain mass from the cosmic microwave background.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE:close to the theoretical "mass boundary" at which the formation of a black hole becomes possible

      Wouldn't that make it older than the age of the universe though?

      I thought evaporation took a very long time - even on cosmic scales - related to it's mass.

  5. cloudgazer


    The power in the Hawking radiation from a solar mass black hole turns out to be a minuscule 9 × 10E−29 watts. Bigger bodies radiate less than smaller, so a 3 solar mass black hole wouldn't lose any appreciable amount of mass over the lifetime of the galaxy.

    The only blackholes that could have shrunk appreciably are those that were created in the big bang itself and started off much smaller than any blackhole created by a supernova could be.

  6. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    How so, "pint-sized"?

    More like a few km across, right?

    At 3 solar masses, the radius would be ~10 km

    1. Code Monkey


      It's a figure of speech, meaning small.

      For example jockeys are larger than a pint but referred to as pint-sized.

    2. Tchou

      3 solar masses in 10km...

      Way to go 7-zip!

    3. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Now, that's my-kind-of-pint sized.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    New Rules

    The only acceptable use of the word 'fanbois' is to refer to Apple supporters.

    1. Code Monkey

      Black hole fanboi? Guilty as charged, though I don't feel the need to attack, say, pulsars and quasars in internet fora.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I dunno, I'm quite happy to be known as a science fanboi.

    3. Tchou

      You mean you can't see the relation between Apple and black holes?

      1. Alfie

        Are you trying to say that the top of Steve Jobs polo neck was actually an event horizon?

  8. Gobhicks


    This headline got me confused with the Foo Fighters seismograph thang - who was that pint-sized star-sucker?

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