Black Hole Swarms | Space Time

  • Published on: 25 April 2018
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    It’s been conjectured that the center of the Milky Way is swarming with tens of thousands of black holes. And now we’ve actually seen them.

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    Previous Episode:
    Using Stars to See Gravitational Waves

    This episode of Space Time Journal Club looks at the paper:

    A density cusp of quiescent X-ray binaries in the central parsec of the Galaxy
    by Hailey, Mori, Bauer, Berkowitz, Hong & Hord (2018)

    The core of our galaxy is a wild place. The stars are so densely packed that the night sky would be 500 times brighter. A supermassive black hole, 4 million times the mass of our Sun lurks in the center. It flings nearby stars into extreme slingshot orbits. It consumes anything that gets too close is consumed, burping a blast of X-rays. We know these things because we see them from our comfortable vantage point 28,000 light years out in the galactic disk. But there’s one particularly terrible feature of the core of our galaxy that, until now, has only been has only be hypothesized: The central few light years of the Milky Way is thought to contain a vast swarm of smaller black holes that have rained in from the surrounding galaxy.

    Hosted by Matt O'Dowd
    Written by Matt O'Dowd
    Graphics by Grayson Blackmon
    Assistant Editing and Sound Design by Mike Petrow and Linda Huang
    Made by Kornhaber Brown (

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  • Runtime : 11:32
  • milky way BLACK HOLE galaxy stars bright mass sun swarm journal club


  • San
    San   8 hours ago

    They do move in herds...

  • Brent Caldwell
    Brent Caldwell   2 days ago

    Umm. Is it just me or is a black hole swarm literally the most terrifying concept imaginable???

  • Florin Olariu
    Florin Olariu   2 weeks ago

    Two opposite spinnig black hole with the same mass, cancel eachother?

  • Florin Olariu
    Florin Olariu   2 weeks ago

    Can you stop still in space, and let the spin of the galaxy bring the stars to you?

  • Gustavo Valdiviesso
    Gustavo Valdiviesso   3 weeks ago

    This video became relevant again, and YouTube's algorithm knowns it, because it came back to the feeds. Look for the new paper explaining why LIGO sees so many BH collisions.

  • Yours Truely
    Yours Truely   4 weeks ago

    Show me your black hole..We keep seeing the gravitational waves...... Pfff.A cosmic wave of nutron stars.. You are smoking black holes again?

  • enlightened advocate
    enlightened advocate   1 months ago

    I feel like such a bad person. I can never listen to this guy. I dont know if its the hand gestures, voice, facial expression, or what but something kills me. Like hes trying way to hard to let me know hes talking about something deep or interesting.

  • ND Put
    ND Put   1 months ago

    How come the swarm doesn't eventually merge into one single SMBH? I mean a swarm with that many BH's must eventually merge, right?

  • YouTube Acct
    YouTube Acct   1 months ago

    Why does dynamical friction cause a Stellar Mass black hole to do something different than a Stellar Mass star? How are these 2 objects different beyond their SIZE/RADIUS?In fact Wikipedia says it acts the same on all objects (not just black holes). So shouldn’t all stars end up in the center eventually?Your explanation here only spreads the wrong idea about black holes. They are hardly special compared to any other massive object, except for their size.

  • Sphinx Rising
    Sphinx Rising   1 months ago

    One major problem with this swarm concept. Using radar & other means, we have mapped the orbits of central stars, & they all revolve around a central point. If there was many massive black holes, there would be chaos at the central part of the galaxy, which there is not.

  • antiisocial
    antiisocial   1 months ago

    I can't see the Milky Way. I live in a city of millions...😥👎

  • Noah Bartlett
    Noah Bartlett   1 months ago

    I hate being late, but why would the black hole tend towards the center if dark matter is everywhere?

  • Zes
    Zes   1 months ago

    no such thing as interesx or craz or terrfx or not

  • Luca Tan
    Luca Tan   2 months ago

    Why don't they fall into each other and merge?

  • Edward Parkin
    Edward Parkin   2 months ago

    Has anyone had the idea that when a black hole first forms a kugelblitz happens within the hole and a new universe begins expanding, then any extra material sucked into the black hole is treated as dark matter and causes the universe to expand faster? Just an idea

  • Ivan Zubov
    Ivan Zubov   2 months ago

    If heavy stuff sinks which makes sense, does it mean there is a tiny core of uranium and other heavy elements inside of earth iron core?

  • Paul Dacus
    Paul Dacus   2 months ago

    Since SMBH's basically destroy anything that comes near them, I wonder what would happen if a small (5 solar masses) black hole began to orbit as close as possible to a billion solar mass black hole? Since nothing can escape a black hole, it seems the "correct" answer is nothing.. but an infinite density object traveling at near light speed around another... just seems like something crazy should happen.

  • Brandon N
    Brandon N   2 months ago

    Good luck surviving the Black Hole Blender™

  • David Schadeberg
    David Schadeberg   2 months ago

    "..., but one thing I will say about Mother Nature, and that is this; She can paint! "

  • V3yk
    V3yk   2 months ago

    Wait so we would more likely find planets with life closer to the edge of the galaxy? since planets and stars are not as dense as neutron stars

  • J-ROD Jarred Venema
    J-ROD Jarred Venema   3 months ago

    He actually said in the central parsec. In real life. Cough cough ahem star wars.

  • Kristian
    Kristian   3 months ago

    Weird to hear a non Scotsman using the word "wee"

  • Fuzzy
    Fuzzy   3 months ago

    existence is terrifying

  • Lizard King
    Lizard King   3 months ago

    space time journal club best time journal club

  • Justin Murray
    Justin Murray   4 months ago

    Can anyone tell me if the T-Shirt at the end is also available as a poster?Thank you.

  • Jeremy Miesch
    Jeremy Miesch   4 months ago

    What is the difference between a polar and a magnetar?

  • Radkon Psygami
    Radkon Psygami   4 months ago

    The intro pic looks like turds in a toilet bowl.

  • doo du
    doo du   5 months ago

    i will never complain about my pizza being delivered cold again

  • Nathan Wilson
    Nathan Wilson   5 months ago

    I’ve been loving this channel lately. You guys do a great job walking the line between oversimplified and brain-melting complexity. Keep up the good work! God bless you guys!

  • B5429671 XJ
    B5429671 XJ   5 months ago

    Am I the only one that thought of The Maw in Star Wars?

  • Vishal Mishra
    Vishal Mishra   5 months ago

    Center of galaxy is expected to be a special place. Why else would 100B to 1T stars choose to revolve around it ? High mass-energy density is very highly expected. So what are the options ? At least 1 mega/giga black-hole or else a swarm of them to keep everything (including all stars within 50-100K light-years distance) revolving around their center of mass. Time to figure a way to harness all this energy for human benefit on earth :-)

  • GodIsImaginary
    GodIsImaginary   5 months ago

    If you watch this after smoking weed, it won't make any more sense, or any less sense.