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Popular Mechanics

Researchers at MIT have developed an automated search tool that can help astronomers identify the echoes emitted by a specific type of black hole, reports Juandre for Popular Mechanics. “The team’s algorithm, which they dubbed the ‘Reverberation Machine,’ pored through data collected by the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer, an x-ray telescope mounted to the International Space Station,” writes Juandre. “They identified previously undetected echoes from black hole binary systems in our galaxy.”

New York Times

MIT astronomers have used light echoes from X-ray bursts to try to map the environment around black holes, reports Dennis Overbye for The New York Times. Prof. Erin Kara then worked with education and music experts to transform the X-ray reflections into audible sound. “I just love that we can ‘hear’ the general relativity in these simulations,” said Kara.

CNN

CNN reporter Ashley Strickland writes that MIT astronomers developed an automated search tool and were able to “pin down the locations of eight rare pairings of black holes and the stars orbiting them, thanks to the X-ray echoes they release.”

VICE

Vice reporter Becky Ferreira writes that MIT researchers developed a new system, called the Reverberation Machine, to detect the echoes from eight new echoing black hole binaries. “These echoes offer a rarely seen glimpse into the otherworldly surroundings of stellar-mass black holes, which are about five to 15 times the mass of the Sun,” writes Ferreira.

Gizmodo

MIT researchers have detected eight echoing black hole binaries in the Milky Way and then converted the black hole X-ray emissions into sound waves, reports Isaac Schultz for Gizmodo. The researchers developed a new tool, dubbed the Reverberation Machine, which “combed satellite data from NICER, a telescope aboard the International Space Station that studies X-ray emissions from sources like black holes and neutron stars, including a weird type of emission known as an ‘echo.’”

New York Times

To celebrate the list of known exoplanets topping 5,000, New York Times reporter Becky Ferreira spoke with astronomers, actors and astronauts about their favorite exoplanets or exoplanetary systems. “TOI-1233 is an outstanding planetary system with its high number of transiting planets, sunlike host star and its proximity to the solar system,” says postdoc Tansu Daylan of the system he detected along with two high school students he was mentoring.

CNN

CNN reporter Ashley Strickland writes that NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), an MIT-led mission, has discovered an exoplanet approximately the size of Mars where a year lasts for about eight hours. “Astronomers are eager to learn more about these small planets that quickly spin around their stars in less than 24 hours because they are not sure how they form and end up in such an extreme orbit,” writes Strickland.


 

Newsweek

A team of astronomers, including MIT researchers, has discovered an ultrahot Jupiter that orbits its star in just 16 hours, reports Robert Lea for Newsweek. “Ultrahot Jupiters such as TOI-2109b constitute the most extreme subclass of exoplanet,” explains former MIT postdoc Ian Wong. “We have only just started to understand some of the unique physical and chemical processes that occur in their atmospheres – processes that have no analogs in our own solar system.” 

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Charlie McKenna writes that a new study co-authored by MIT researchers finds that the way black holes evolve as they consume material is the same, no matter their size. “What we’re demonstrating is, if you look at the properties of a supermassive black hole in the cycle, those properties are very much like a stellar-mass black hole,” says research scientist Dheeraj “DJ” Pasham. The findings mean “black holes are simple, and elegant in a sense.”

CNN

Postdoc Tansu Daylan speaks with CNN reporter Ada Wood about his work mentoring two high school students, and their discovery of four new exoplanets. "When it comes to studying by comparison — that is, studying the atmospheres of planets beyond the solar system around sun-like stars — this is probably one of the best targets that we will ever get," says Daylan.

CBS News

Reporting for CBS News, Sophie Lewis spotlights how MIT astronomers have uncovered evidence of what may be one of the earliest incidences of galactic cannibalism in a dwarf galaxy called Tucana II. “The findings suggest that the earliest galaxies in the universe were much more massive than previously believed,” writes Lewis. 

CNN

CNN reporter Ashley Strickland writes that astronomers have identified an extended dark matter halo around Tucana II, an ancient dwarf galaxy. "This probably also means that the earliest galaxies formed in much larger dark matter halos than previously thought," says Prof. Anna Frebel. "We have thought that the first galaxies were the tiniest, wimpiest galaxies. But they actually may have been several times larger than we thought, and not so tiny after all." 

Smithsonian Magazine

Two high school students and their mentor, MIT postdoc Tansu Daylan, have discovered four new exoplanets located about 200 light years from Earth, reports Nora McGreevy for Smithsonian. The students were participating in the Student Research Mentoring Program, which pairs young astronomers with scientists at MIT and Harvard. “[The students] are so good at finding things that may skip your eyes, basically. It’s fun. And I really like the exchange of ideas,” Daylan adds. 

Gizmodo

Astronomers have uncovered evidence of an extended dark matter halo around an ancient galaxy located about 163,000 light years from Earth, reports Isaac Schultz for Gizmodo. “We know [dark matter] is there because in order for galaxies to remain bound, there must be more matter than what we see visibly, from starlight,” explains graduate student Anirudh Chiti. “That led to the hypothesis of dark matter existing as an ingredient that holds galaxies together.” 

United Press International (UPI)

UPI reporter Brooks Hays writes that MIT researchers have discovered an extended dark matter halo encircling an ancient dwarf galaxy about 163,000 light years from Earth. “The findings suggest many more of the cosmos' earliest galaxies may have formed within expansive dark matter halos,” writes Hays.