NASA to Announce Success of Long Galactic Hunt

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spin0

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<p>NASA MEDIA ADVISORY May 7, 2008:</p><p>http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2008/may/HQ_M08089_Chandra_Advisory.html</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em><strong>NASA to Announce Success of Long Galactic Hunt</strong>&nbsp;<br />WASHINGTON -- NASA has scheduled a media teleconference Wednesday, May 14, at 1 p.m. EDT, to announce the discovery of an object in our Galaxy astronomers have been hunting for more than 50 years. This finding was made by combining data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory with ground-based observations.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Ooh, ooh... What is it? What is it?</p><p>An object? An extremely dense kind of object maybe? With a mass of millions of Suns, perhaps? With event horizon and all? Gimme B... Gimme L... Gimme A... Gimme C... Gimme K... Gimme HOLE!</p><p>I can hardly wait.<br />Let wild guessing ensue!</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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qso1

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<p>Usually with these kinds of announcements, the secret is far less compelling than the dramatic hype generated from all the guessing.&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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lampblack

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Ooh, ooh... What is it? What is it?An object? An extremely dense kind of object maybe? With a mass of millions of Suns, perhaps? With event horizon and all? Gimme B... Gimme L... Gimme A... Gimme C... Gimme K... Gimme HOLE!I can hardly wait.Let wild guessing ensue! <br /> Posted by spin0</DIV></p><p>It's probably the jelly beans that went missing after the astronauts tossed a few of 'em around during the last shuttle mission.&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font color="#0000ff"><strong>Just tell the truth and let the chips fall...</strong></font> </div>
 
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spin0

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>It's probably the jelly beans that went missing after the astronauts tossed a few of 'em around during the last shuttle mission.&nbsp; <br /> Posted by lampblack</DIV></p><p>And because of a random loop in space-time continuum astronomers have been looking for them for more than 50 years.</p><p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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Smersh

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>NASA MEDIA ADVISORY May 7, 2008:http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2008/may/HQ_M08089_Chandra_Advisory.htmlNASA to Announce Success of Long Galactic Hunt&nbsp;WASHINGTON -- NASA has scheduled a media teleconference Wednesday, May 14, at 1 p.m. EDT, to announce the discovery of an object in our Galaxy astronomers have been hunting for more than 50 years. This finding was made by combining data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory with ground-based observations.&nbsp;Ooh, ooh... What is it? What is it?An object? An extremely dense kind of object maybe? With a mass of millions of Suns, perhaps? With event horizon and all? Gimme B... Gimme L... Gimme A... Gimme C... Gimme K... Gimme HOLE!I can hardly wait.Let wild guessing ensue! <br /> Posted by spin0</DIV></p><p>Yes, who knows what it could be?&nbsp;</p><p>I don't know why NASA have to make these dramatic "teaser" statements about forthcoming announcements. Why not just announce it right away?</p><p>They did the same thing several months ago with Mira, the "speeding bullet" star."</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <h1 style="margin:0pt;font-size:12px">----------------------------------------------------- </h1><p><font color="#800000"><em>Lady Nancy Astor: "Winston, if you were my husband, I'd poison your tea."<br />Churchill: "Nancy, if you were my wife, I'd drink it."</em></font></p><p><font color="#0000ff"><strong>Website / forums </strong></font></p> </div>
 
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derekmcd

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Yes, who knows what it could be?&nbsp;I don't know why NASA have to make these dramatic "teaser" statements about forthcoming announcements. Why not just announce it right away?They did the same thing several months ago with Mira, the "speeding bullet" star." <br /> Posted by Smersh</DIV></p><p>The woo woo forums must be peaking with traffic over this.&nbsp; If it was something truely profound for the average layman, they probably wouldn't have a press release to build hype.&nbsp; Obviously, with it being tied to the Chandra xray observatory, it's involved with very high energies.&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div> </div><br /><div><span style="color:#0000ff" class="Apple-style-span">"If something's hard to do, then it's not worth doing." - Homer Simpson</span></div> </div>
 
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qso1

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<p><font color="#800080">Yes, who knows what it could be?&nbsp;I don't know why NASA have to make these dramatic "teaser" statements about forthcoming announcements. Why not just announce it right away?They did the same thing several months ago with Mira, the "speeding bullet" star." Posted by Smersh</font></p><p>If I had to guess, I'd say NASA likes to generate buzz like anyone else in our media driven world. Seems only the most outrageous announcements get significant press these days. I didn't get to read the actual announcement, as the link didn't work for some reason. But sometimes it also depends on whoever is reporting on the announcement.</p><p>Whether that be Time Magazine or the OP of this thread. How they report it can determine the hype level and raise it well above the original announcements hype level.&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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qso1

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<p><font color="#800080">Obviously, with it being tied to the Chandra xray observatory, it's involved with very high energies. Posted by derekmcd</font></p><p>And as such, will probably only generate extreme exitement within the community of researchers it may affect. The average person and media won't give a crap.</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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bearack

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Obviously, with it being tied to the Chandra xray observatory, it's involved with very high energies. Posted by derekmcdAnd as such, will probably only generate extreme exitement within the community of researchers it may affect. The average person and media won't give a crap. <br />Posted by qso1</DIV><br /><br />Well, don't know about that.&nbsp; What would be causing such high energy levels at a specific point and why have they been looking for it for 50 years?</p><p>I am currently intrigued though.</p><p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><br /><img id="06322a8d-f18d-4ab1-8ea7-150275a4cb53" src="http://sitelife.space.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/6/14/06322a8d-f18d-4ab1-8ea7-150275a4cb53.Large.jpg" alt="blog post photo" /></p> </div>
 
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derekmcd

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Well, don't know about that.&nbsp; What would be causing such high energy levels at a specific point and why have they been looking for it for 50 years?I am currently intrigued though.&nbsp; <br /> Posted by bearack</DIV></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Most likely tied to a black hole.&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div> </div><br /><div><span style="color:#0000ff" class="Apple-style-span">"If something's hard to do, then it's not worth doing." - Homer Simpson</span></div> </div>
 
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qso1

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<p>You are probably not the average person. Which in the use of the term here, is meant to reflect people who have no interest in anything space.&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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spin0

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<p>These NASA's media advisories are usually made about a week before the corresponding announcement or media event. What makes this particular advisory interesting is the wording. It seems like they have found something significant and that's why I considered it worth posting here. Now I don't *know* if they actually have found something important or if this is just hype as proposed here. But nevertheless it makes me very curious about what the "object" in question might be.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Clues so far:</p><p>1. It's in our galaxy.&nbsp;</p><p>2. It's energetic (x-rays).</p><p>3. Astronomers have been hunting for it for more than 50 years.</p><p>- In 1958 David Finkelstein described black hole's event horizon mathematically and made BHs from speculation into a theory and a physical possibility. We haven't yet observed an event horizon or it's shadow in accredion disk AFAIK.</p><p>4. I think it's not very bright an X-ray source as it would have been found already.</p><p>- Sgr A* in the center of our galaxy is not a very bright object, Chandra's earlier images of Sgr A*'s surroundings have been long exposures - the longest was this 164-hour exposure AFAIK. </p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>My guess is the observation has something to do with BH's and something about them we have not yet observed - maybe even a shadow of an event horizon. It could be the supermassive Sgr A* or some other BH (stellar/intermediate mass).</p><p>But naturally, this is all pure guessing based on those few clues in the media advisory. </p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Still, I find this very interesting and I'm very curious about this new finding! It does sound significant.</p><p>And I like puzzles. </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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qso1

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<p>I have no doubt its something of interest to the scientific community, and tho I sometimes criticize the hype. A little hype now and then doesn't really hurt. I do recall one time where a lot of hype was generated and did have an impact. Comet Kouhoutek, hyped for months in 1973 as the "Comet of the century". This was a rare case of over hyping that should be avoided.&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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Philotas

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<p>Probably a star of some kind. <img src="http://sitelife.space.com/ver1.0/content/scripts/tinymce/plugins/emotions/images/smiley-wink.gif" border="0" alt="Wink" title="Wink" /></p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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bearack

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Probably a star of some kind. <br />Posted by Philotas</DIV><br /><br />I suspect this is tongue n cheek or what kind of star would not have been seen in our own galaxy, or unless you mean one that has gone nova?</p><p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><br /><img id="06322a8d-f18d-4ab1-8ea7-150275a4cb53" src="http://sitelife.space.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/6/14/06322a8d-f18d-4ab1-8ea7-150275a4cb53.Large.jpg" alt="blog post photo" /></p> </div>
 
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derekmcd

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I suspect this is tongue n cheek or what kind of star would not have been seen in our own galaxy, or unless you mean one that has gone nova?&nbsp; <br /> Posted by bearack</DIV></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Nova and supernova news get disseminated quite quickly... I see no reason they would hold that info to build hype.&nbsp; Besides...&nbsp; Those could probably be detected by amatuer astronomers.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>spin0,</p><p>I would be tickled pink if they could determine that with absolute certainty.&nbsp; Detecting a shadow on the accretion disk?&nbsp; Is that even possible?&nbsp; I've never heard that as an option for direct detection.&nbsp; Sounds interesting, but my intuition (whatever that's worth) tells me there's something fundementally wrong with that.&nbsp; Could you elaborate on that or point me in the direction of a source that could?</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div> </div><br /><div><span style="color:#0000ff" class="Apple-style-span">"If something's hard to do, then it's not worth doing." - Homer Simpson</span></div> </div>
 
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aulfat_hussain

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>NASA MEDIA ADVISORY May 7, 2008:http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2008/may/HQ_M08089_Chandra_Advisory.htmlNASA to Announce Success of Long Galactic Hunt&nbsp;WASHINGTON -- NASA has scheduled a media teleconference Wednesday, May 14, at 1 p.m. EDT, to announce the discovery of an object in our Galaxy astronomers have been hunting for more than 50 years. This finding was made by combining data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory with ground-based observations.&nbsp;Ooh, ooh... What is it? What is it?An object? An extremely dense kind of object maybe? With a mass of millions of Suns, perhaps? With event horizon and all? Gimme B... Gimme L... Gimme A... Gimme C... Gimme K... Gimme HOLE!I can hardly wait.Let wild guessing ensue! <br />Posted by spin0</DIV><br /></p><p><font size="2">It is sparkling announcement but if it has satifactory prove which is&nbsp;very dense object. I am thinking that it should no be like news of some people who are saying we saw UFO&nbsp;or plate type object in the sky but upto now there is no such kind of prove of it.. sometimes cloud of sky also form plate&nbsp;type shape and size... Ok. we will see what it would be..</font></p><p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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spin0

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>spin0,I would be tickled pink if they could determine that with absolute certainty.&nbsp; Detecting a shadow on the accretion disk?&nbsp; Is that even possible?&nbsp; I've never heard that as an option for direct detection.&nbsp; Sounds interesting, but my intuition (whatever that's worth) tells me there's something fundementally wrong with that.&nbsp; Could you elaborate on that or point me in the direction of a source that could? <br /> Posted by derekmcd</DIV></p><p>Here's an interesting paper touching the very subject. They suggest a method for observing the shadow of the event horizon and spin of a stellar mass BH by using accretion disk's X-ray spectra and light curve with an eclipsing binary (BH and a star). They elaborate on how companion star's atmosphere might affect observations. (contains illustrative simulated images) </p><p><em>ABSTRACT<br />We calculate eclipsing light curves for accretion flows around a rotating black hole taking into account the atmospheric effects of the companion star. <strong>In the cases of no atmospheric effects, the light curves contain the information of the black hole spin because most of X-ray photons around 1 keV usually comes from the blue-shifted part of the accretion flow near the black-hole shadow and the size and the position of the black-hole shadow depend on the spin. In these cases, when most of the emission comes from the vicinity of the event horizon, the light curves becomes asymmetric at ingress and egress.</strong> We next investigate the atmospheric absorption and scattering effects of the companion stars. By using the solar-type atmospheric model, we have taken into account the atmospheric effects of the companion star, such as the photoionization by HI and HeI. We found that the eclipsing light curves observed at 1 keV possibly contain the information of the black-hole spin. However, in our atmospheric model, the effects of the atmosphere are much larger than the effects of the black-hole spin. Therefore, even in the case that the light-curves contain the information of the black hole spin, it may be difficult to extract the information of the black hole spin if we do not have the realistic atmospheric profiles, such as, the temperature, the number densities for several elements. Even in such cases, the light curve asymmetries due to the rotation of the accretion disc exist. Only when we have the reliable atmospheric model, in principle, the information of the strong-gravity regions, such as, the black hole spin, can be obtained from the eclipsing light curves.</em></p><p>Eclipsing light curves for accretion flows around a rotating black hole and atmospheric effects of the companion star<br />(Rohta Takahashi, Ken-Ya Watarai - 20 Apr 2007)</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>But I don't know if Chandra's angular and spectroscopic resolution is accurate enough for using such method nor wheter the suggested method actually works. :)<br /> </p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>NASA mentioned also ground based observations - could it mean VLBI?</p><p>Here's a short and interesting paper about VLBI, angular resolution and event horizons:</p><p>Towards the Event Horizon - High Resolution VLBI Imaging of Nuclei of Active Galaxies</p><p>(T.P. Krichbaum, D.A. Graham, A. Witzel, J.A. Zensus, A. Greve, M. Grewing, M. Bremer, S. Doeleman, R.B. Phillips, A.E.E. Rogers, H. Fagg, P. Strittmatter, L. Ziurys - To appear in the conference proceedings "Exploring the Cosmic Frontier: Astrophysical Instruments for the 21st Century", held in Berlin, Germany, May 17 - 21, 2004, ESO Astrophysical Symposia Series, in press. - Submitted on 5 Jul 2006)</p><p><strong><em>"Thus one can hope that within less than a decade from now, the detailed imaging of the &lsquo;event horizon&rsquo; of SMBHs and a better understanding of the coupling between &lsquo;central engine&rsquo; and jet will become possible."</em></strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Anyway my guesses about an observed event horizon are just that - pure guesses based on the few clues of the media advisor combined with some wishful thinking. But it would be so cool! :) </p><p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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spin0

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I have no doubt its something of interest to the scientific community, and tho I sometimes criticize the hype. A little hype now and then doesn't really hurt. I do recall one time where a lot of hype was generated and did have an impact. Comet Kouhoutek, hyped for months in 1973 as the "Comet of the century". This was a rare case of over hyping that should be avoided.&nbsp; <br /> Posted by qso1</DIV></p><p>Yes, you are right about hype and how it should be kept away from astronomy and science - and I very much agree with you there. Science-reporting should be accurate and hype-free. </p><p>And sometimes a little hype doesn't hurt: NASA has to reach the media and catch media's interest somehow. Otherwise their discoveries and achievements would go unnoticed, which is not acceptable for a publicly funded organization IMO. In this single case NASA's media person had to use 2-3 sentences to make media interested enough to join next week's teleconference and possibly report on that. </p><p>We have to remember that the media advisory I posted here is meant for the members of the media, not general public per se. It's a sort of an invitation to the media and I guess they get many similar advisories within a single week even from NASA. So to make this one stand out NASA's representative chose to use big words. Are they just hype or is there something significant behind this we'll know next week. </p><p>But the will-be news do sound interesting! :)</p><p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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Philotas

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Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I suspect this is tongue n cheek or what kind of star would not have been seen in our own galaxy, or unless you mean one that has gone nova?&nbsp; <br />Posted by bearack</DIV><br /><br />Well, if it is a rare type of star it could take it's while to discover what kind of star it is no matter how bright. What other objects have we not yet discovered that is not some sort of star and that is visible in the X-ray spectrum? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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qso1

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<p><font color="#800080">NASA has to reach the media and catch media's interest somehow. Otherwise their discoveries and achievements would go unnoticed, which is not acceptable for a publicly funded organization IMO. In this single case NASA's media person had to use 2-3 sentences to make media interested enough to join next week's teleconference and possibly report on that. We have to remember that the media advisory I posted here is meant for the members of the media, not general public per se. It's a sort of an invitation to the media and I guess they get many similar advisories within a single week even from NASA. So to make this one stand out NASA's representative chose to use big words. Are they just hype or is there something significant behind this we'll know next week. But the will-be news do sound interesting! :)&nbsp; <br /> Posted by spin0</font></p><p>Good points, its a catch 22 situation to be sure. I'm looking forward to whatever the news is about so even for me, this report has me interested. &nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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spin0

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Well, if it is a rare type of star it could take it's while to discover what kind of star it is no matter how bright. What other objects have we not yet discovered that is not some sort of star and that is visible in the X-ray spectrum? <br /> Posted by Philotas</DIV></p><p>Hmm.. I can come up with two types of stars which haven't been directly observed yet:</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>1. Population III stars (the very first stars in the universe)</p><p>- Astronomers have definetely been hunting for them! But "more than 50 years"? </p><p>- I don't know about the role of the X-rays here, IR & spectra sounds more suitable for discovering them IMO. </p><p>- I don't think they could be found within our galaxy any more. As ancient objects they would be very distant. Unless some of them had a small mass to begin with and has managed to live long and prosper within our galaxy. </p><p>- This would be a very significant discovery! </p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>2. Black dwarfs (a cooled down white dwarf)</p><p>- No x-rays, as they would be cold and dark objects.</p><p>- Our universe seems to be way too young for a white dwarf to cool down into a black dwarf, so it doesn't seem possible to find one yet. </p><p>- Discovery of a black dwarf now would have an impact on stellar models I guess.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>That's all I can come up with, I could have missed some unobserved stellar objects from the list.</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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derekmcd

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Quick bump to keep near the top so I don't forget. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div> </div><br /><div><span style="color:#0000ff" class="Apple-style-span">"If something's hard to do, then it's not worth doing." - Homer Simpson</span></div> </div>
 
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bearack

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Quick bump to keep near the top so I don't forget. <br />Posted by derekmcd</DIV><br /><br />Could this news be about a rogue planet, perhaps?&nbsp; Just throwing out some more speculation.</p><p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><br /><img id="06322a8d-f18d-4ab1-8ea7-150275a4cb53" src="http://sitelife.space.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/6/14/06322a8d-f18d-4ab1-8ea7-150275a4cb53.Large.jpg" alt="blog post photo" /></p> </div>
 
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derekmcd

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Could this news be about a rogue planet, perhaps?&nbsp; Just throwing out some more speculation.&nbsp; <br /> Posted by bearack</DIV></p><p>The Chandra x-ray scope is for detecting high energy events.&nbsp; I doubt it has the proper filters or capabilities to detecting something that cold.&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div> </div><br /><div><span style="color:#0000ff" class="Apple-style-span">"If something's hard to do, then it's not worth doing." - Homer Simpson</span></div> </div>
 
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