Monday, December 5, 2011

Black Holes Billions Of Times Bigger Than Sun Discovered

This figure shows the immense size of the black hole discovered in the galaxy NGC 3842. NGC 3842, shown in the background image, is the brightest galaxy in a rich cluster of galaxies. The black hole is at its center and is surrounded by stars (shown as an artist's concept in the central figure). The black hole is seven times larger than Pluto's orbit. Our solar system (inset) would be dwarfed by it. (NOAO)
Scientists have found the biggest black holes known to exist – each one 10 billion times the size of our sun.

A team led by astronomers at the University of California, Berkeley, discovered the two gigantic black holes in clusters of elliptical galaxies more than 300 million light years away. That's relatively close on the galactic scale.

The previous black hole record-holder is as large as 6 billion suns.

In research released Monday by the journal Nature, the scientists suggest these black holes may be the leftovers of quasars that crammed the early universe. They are similar in mass to young quasars, they said, and have been well hidden until now. They used ground-based telescopes as well as the Hubble Space Telescope for the job, as well as supercomputers in Texas.

A black hole is formed by the collapse of a super-size star. It's a region where nothing, not even light, can escape. Most if not all galaxies are believed to have black holes at their center; the bigger the galaxy, it seems, the bigger the black hole.

Quasars are some of the most energized and distant of galactic centers.

The researchers said their findings suggest differences in the way black holes grow, depending on the size of the galaxy.

Astrophysicist Chung-Pei Ma, part of the Berkeley team, speculates the black holes remained hidden for so long because they are living in quiet retirement.

"For an astronomer, finding these insatiable black holes is like finally encountering people nine feet tall whose great height had only been inferred from fossilized bones. How did they grow so large?" Ma said in a news release. "This rare find will help us understand whether these black holes had very tall parents or ate a lot of spinach."

Oxford University astrophysicist Michele Cappellari, who wrote an accompanying commentary in the journal, agreed that the two newly discovered black holes "probably represent the missing dormant relics of the giant black holes that powered the brightest quasars in the early universe."

One of the newly detected black holes is 9.7 billion times the size of the sun. The second, slightly farther from Earth, is as big or even bigger.

Govt Satisfied With Indian Explanation: Gowher

The government is satisfied with the explanation given by the Indian government regarding the Tipaimukh Dam on the Barak River, the prime minister’s Foreign Adviser Gowher Rizvi said on Monday. 

“We are completely satisfied by the Indian government’s explanation concerning the Tipaimukh Dam. There should not be any further apprehension about this issue,” Gowher told reporters after a programme in the capital’s Bangabandhu International Convention Centre. 

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) ogranised the event. 

When asked about the Tipaimukh Dam, the adviser said, “You know that recently, the Tipaimukh hydroelectric power project has raised a storm of debate and misinformation in the country. In this situation, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has sent us to India to verify the matter.”

“There, we have discussed with the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other senior leaders. The Indian prime minister has assured us that no action would be taken about Tipaimukh that would harm Bangladesh in any way. In addition to this assurance, if needed, he invited a committee of Bangladeshi specialists to India,” he said.

If needed, Bangladesh might get electricity from the Tipaimukh project through mutual investment, Gowher said quoting the Indian side. 

India has given every assurance that there are no provisions for irrigation in the project. The dam would only be for electricity generation, the PM’s adviser added. 

He further said, since the project is aimed at producing electricity through the dam, India will release water throughout the year. Therefore, there is no reason for disquiet about this issue. 

When asked how Bangladesh will get electricity from joint investment, Gowher said, “Our country has a deficit of power. The Tipaimukh project will generate electricity. India has invited Bangladesh for joint investment in the project. If Bangladesh invests in the project then we will get electricity according to our share. In this regard Bangladesh has to decide.”

Protest In Sweden Against Tipaimukh Dam

Sweden have demonstrated outside Indian embassy at Stockholm against India's plan to dam the Barak River, which flows through Bangladesh from India, to produce power.

Students, researchers and teachers from several other countries joined hands with the Bangladeshi students in front of the Indian embassy on Sunday to oppose the Tipaimukh hydroelectric project.

The demonstrators, carrying placards with anti-Tipaimukh slogans inscribed on them, said India being the larger country is trying to be imposing and the Bangladesh government should present the harmful sides of the project to the world.

Javed Kaiser, a former Bangladeshi student of Stockholm University, said, "India said Bangladesh will face no harm if the dam is built. But, our experience with the Farakka barrage says that India only looks after own interests. The ecology of India's north-eastern part, along with Bangladesh, will be harmed once dam is built."

India built Farakka Barrage in the 1970s on the Ganges to divert water away from Bangladesh.

"We should protest the planned construction of the dam from our own respective positions."

Briton Lucas Pilarski, a researcher of Upsala University, said, "We all know that such a dam is harmful for environment. India is using power as it is a big country.

"As far as I know," Pilarski added, "India has not consulted Bangladesh before deciding on the hydroelectric dam. Interests of neighbouring countries' should be considered while deciding on such structures."

The United Nations should intervene on the issue, according to him.

Nepal's Sameer Adhikari said, "India is not respecting smaller countries in South Asia. It's not acceptable in anyway."

Stockholm University researcher Yuhana Larson said India should provide information on the project to Bangladesh and there should be a joint survey on the possible impacts of the dam.

Bangladeshi student Enamul Haque Shawon, who came from the Netherlands, said Bangladesh should sit across the table with India to make its position clear.

A section of environmentalists, both in Bangladesh and India, are opposed to the Tipaimukh project.

They say the dam would significantly bring down flow of water in its tributaries Surma and Kurshiara in Bangladesh. The dam will have a negative impact on the Meghna basin.

India's northeastern state Manipur recently signed an agreement with state-owned NHPC Ltd and Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd (SJVN) on Oct 22 to construct a 1,500MW Tipaimukh hydroelectric power project in Manipur.

According to a BBC report, the anti-Tipaimukh movement leaders have said that though the project got environmental clearance, the protests of the locals were not taken into account during the 'Environment Impact Analysis'. 

Source :

Abul Loses Communications Ministry

Quader, Suranjit get ministries; GM Quader, Faruk Khan swap

In a major cabinet reshuffle, the government on Monday replaced embattled Communications Minister Syed Abul Hossain with newly sworn in Obaidul Quader months after allegations of corruption and inefficiency dogged the “prize post”.

 Abul however still remains a minister and will now head Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), which was created on Sunday splitting the Ministry of Science and Information and Communication Technology.

State Minister Yeafesh Osman got the charge of Ministry of Science and Technology, the other offshoot of Ministry of Science and Information and Communication Technology.

Veteran Awami League leader Suranjit Sengupta has been made head of the Ministry of Railways, which used to be a wing of the Ministry of Communications till Sunday.
In another significant change, Commerce Minister Lt Col (retd) Mohammad Faruk Khan and Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister GM Quader swapped their portfolios.

The Cabinet Division issued separate gazette notifications in this regard Monday morning.
Sources said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina approved the cabinet reshuffle around 11:10pm Sunday.

Corruption allegations raised by the World Bank and shown as the cause for suspending its $1.2-billion loan commitment for the Padma Bridge project and pestering failure to repair and maintain the roads and highways that caused acute public sufferings seem to have seen Syed Abul Hossain go.

The government move also appears as recognition to widespread public criticism over Abul’s role and to attempts by several key government officials, including the prime minister, to defend him.

Thrown in an awkward position by Padma Bridge fund suspension by the WB, some government officials insisted in vain that it would not be a problem to manage fund from alternative sources and also that they would be able to convince the WB that no corruption had taken place in the bridge project.
The government is yet to be successful in either of the two.

Meanwhile, Commerce Minister Faruk Khan was the target of strong criticism from the common people for failing to rein in skyrocketing price of essentials which caused untold sufferings especially the low income people. 

According to sources, the tourism minister GM Quader had been undergoing an uncomfortable feeling for quite some time due to differences of opinion between his ministry and the authorities of the national flag carrier, Biman Bangladesh Airlines.

At the fag end of the government’s third year in power, the PM expanded her cabinet on November 28 by inducting into it two party stalwarts, Suranjit Sengupta and Obaidul Quader, as full ministers.
The status of state minister for environment and forest Hasan Mahmud was also upgraded to that of a minister.

To accommodate the newly appointed ministers, the government on Sunday bifurcated the Ministry of Communications and established a new Ministry of Railways. It also divided the Ministry of Science and Information and Communication Technology to create a Ministry of Science and Technology and a Ministry of Information and Communication Technology.