Saturday, November 15, 2014

Black Hole Simulation


I think after around ninety years,  a convincing simulation was about due.  I do think that we will find something much different, but at least we can dismiss the conceptualized black hole.  It is certainly not black.  Throw in mass ejection in the form of decaying photonic energy  and it will be a blindingly hot spot.

 At least they have understood that the surrounding space will also be full of orbiting material that will certainly emit light.  This shows what that should look like.

This should also reopen the discussion and get plenty of simulations out there as well.

Sci-fi film Interstellar leads to new scientific discovery
Director Christopher Nolan makes an unexpected contribution to human progress

Interstellar Paramount Pictures
Christopher Nolan's Interstellar is still two weeks from release, but that hasn't stopped it from shaking up the world in a very unexpected way. Namely, the sci-fi film has actually led to a new scientific discovery about the nature of black holes.

As reported in WIRED, Nolan enlisted astrophysicist Kip Thorne to work with his special effects team in order to create the most realistic looking black hole on cinema. Thorne started by sending pages and pages of equations that Nolan's animators fed into their rendering software.

Thorne, who'd previously worked with Carl Sagan on the Jodie Foster-starring space classic Contact, had only ever conceived of a black hole theoretically. Nobody had any idea what it might actually look like.

What the computers finally churned out after hours of rendering – all 800 terabytes of it – was astounding. Turns out that a black hole doesn't look too much like its name. It actually looks like this: 

Kip Thorne's rendering of a black hole Paramount Pictures
"We found that warping space around the black hole also warps the accretion disk," special effects head Paul Franklin said. "So rather than looking like Saturn's rings around a black sphere, the light creates this extraordinary halo."
Thorne quickly realised that the model generated by Nolan's team is as scientifically accurate as it gets. Forget artistic licence; this is what black holes actually look like. "This is our observational data," Thorne explained. "That's the way nature behaves. Period."

The scientists says that he can publish at least two research papers based on the find. So when you watch Matthew McConaughey save the world in Interstellar, you're also watching scientific progress in motion. Pretty cool, right? 

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