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It's #BlackFriday, but for us, it's the 2nd annual #BlackHoleFriday. Today, we'll post pics & info about black holes. Looking for a size large this #BlackFriday? Here's a supermassive black hole. This artist's concept illustrates a supermassive black hole with millions to billions times the mass of our sun. Supermassive black holes are enormously dense objects buried at the hearts of galaxies. (Smaller black holes also exist throughout galaxies.) In this illustration, the supermassive black hole at the center is surrounded by matter flowing onto the black hole in what is termed an accretion disk. This disk forms as the dust and gas in the galaxy falls onto the hole, attracted by its gravity. Also shown is an outflowing jet of energetic particles, believed to be powered by the black hole's spin. The regions near black holes contain compact sources of high energy X-ray radiation thought, in some scenarios, to originate from the base of these jets. This high energy X-radiation lights up the disk, which reflects it, making the disk a source of X-rays. The reflected light enables astronomers to see how fast matter is swirling in the inner region of the disk, and ultimately to measure the black hole's spin rate. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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When I was a young, punk photographer I used to look through the pages of National Geographic and think “Yeah, I could have taken that photo too if I was there…” Only much later did I realize how much of the job was being there, in the right place at the right time, and figuring out when and where that might be. A few weeks ago I squeezed my son Johnny into the front seat of a small helicopter, between me and the pilot, for @natgeo shot over Manhattan. While @geosteinmetz bent over to change lenses, @johncsteinmetz snapped this frame over my shoulder with his iPhone. Not too shabby! As my friend @jimrichardsonng likes to say, if you want to take more interesting pictures, stand in front of more interesting things!
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Building a house is stressful. Building a skyscraper is a nuclear bomb of stress, problems, and carefully-coordinated chaos—chaos that is closely …