Kepler Targets Supermassive Black Hole
An artist’s conception of an active galactic nuclei. Image Credit: NASA / Dana Berry / SkyWorks Digital
With only an introductory course in science, it’s easy to think that scientists strictly follow the scientific method. They propose a new hypothesis, test that hypothesis, and after many years of hard work, either confirm or reject it. But science is often prone to chance. And when a surprise presents itself, the book titled “Scientific Method 101” often gets dropped in the trash. In short, science needs — and perhaps thrives on — stupid luck.
Take any scientific mission. Often designed to do one thing, a mission tends to open up a remarkable window on something unexpected. Now, NASA’s Kepler space telescope, designed to hunt for planets in our own galaxy, has helped measure an object much more distant and more massive than any of its detected planets: a black hole.
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