Monday, April 24, 2006

we live in a bubble!

the article is actually about how much more energy efficient it would be to live in a black hole, but the whole concept of living in a bubble is just surreal.

Black Holes are Actually Green
Ker Than
Staff Writer Mon Apr 24, 3:00 PM ET

...Space bubbles

Most of the energy in the jets is being emitted as radio waves, but in at least one of the black holes studied, the energy was in the form of more energetic X-rays.

"The energy in these jets is absolutely huge, about a trillion trillion trillion watts," Allen said.

As they race outwards from their parent black holes at nearly light speed, the jets carve out enormous cavities, or "bubbles," in the surrounding gas environment; some of these bubbles can be tens of thousands of light years across.

Bubbles can also form in the aftermath of stellar explosions called supernovas; our own solar system is enveloped by such a structure, called the "Local Bubble," which was formed during an explosion long ago.

The researchers used these bubbles to figure out the fuel efficiency of the black holes. Using Chandra images, they first calculated how much fuel in the form of gas was available to each black hole. They then estimated the power required to produce the bubbles that were observed.

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