Stay on target Instead of booking a one-way ticket to an all-consuming black hole, scientists are bringing the gravitational phenomenon to us.In anticipation of the first image of the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole, a team of international researchers built a virtual reality simulation of Sagittarius A*.The VR experience, created as part of the BlackHoleCam project, was published today in the journal Computation Astrophysics and Cosmology. A version is also available to view on YouTube.To the untrained eye, the two-and-a-half-minute video looks like a bunch of digital stars flickering through space before a ball of fire explodes and shrinks back to nothing.So what are we actually seeing in this simulation?“The light you see comes from matter that disappears into the black hole in a vortex-like way; due to the extreme conditions it becomes a plasma that starts to glow,” BHCam’s Jordy Davelaar, an astrophysics PhD student at Radboud University in the Netherlands, said in a statement.Light and plasma are then deflected and deformed by the powerful gravity, moving continuously inward in a spiral until it is ejected in the jet stream.The only black hole most people have seen is Gargantua—the great void depicted in Christopher Nolan’s 2014 film Interstellar. But the Braveheart of black holes was not as scientifically accurate as it could have been.Davelaar & Co. hope to correct this oversight with their project, which combined models developed by local astronomers and radio telescope observations.“The purpose of the simulation is to make the most realistic possible representation of the direct environment of Sagittarius A*,” he told Radboud University.In their coding, the team used Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity to visualize all effects you’d experience while moving around a black hole—including light deflection and distorted field of view.“This provides the most realistic possible experience of what we think this environment is like”—certainly more so than the visualizations in Interstellar, Davelaar said.More cosmic coverage on Geek.com:Astronomers Propose New Method for Detecting Massive Black HolesScientists Poke Holes in Supernova ‘Firewall’ TheoryAstronomers Watch Black Hole Violently Destroy a Star Scientists Find ‘Hungry’ Supermassive Black Hole Eating 3 Meals DailyScientists Behind First Black Hole Image Win $3 Million Prize
Stay on target 2019 Tech Trends Worth Getting Hyped AboutThe World’s First Foldable Smartphone Transforms Into a Tablet I remember when I was kid first learning about technology I thought that a terabyte was such a huge, incalculable amount of space that surely no one person would ever need that much storage. Terabyte hard drives were only for, like, space stations. Today, that’s definitely no longer the case. People chew through terabytes of space like it was nothing, recording hours of huge 4K video files about their day at the park or whatever.However, packing one terabyte of storage into the smallest form possible has still been a technological challenge. SanDisk, one of the most prominent SD card manufacturers around, has so far only managed to show off prototypes of cards fitting that much capacity into one tiny cartridge. But now, at CES 2019, the first commercially available terabyte SD card is here, thanks to Lexar.The Lexar 1TB 633x SDXC UHS-I card is what it says it is, an SD card with a ludicrous one terabyte flash memory capacity. Before now the biggest cards were half that size at 512GB, and only fifteen years ago 1GB SD cards were a huge deal. This new card is made for professionals, serious camera folks who constantly fill up SD cards shooting lots of photos and videos all day in the highest possible quality, so they don’t need to keep track of so many cards.The convenience doesn’t just come from the space though. The card also sports respectable read transfer speeds of 95MB/s per second, so you don’t need to wait that long to get your files onto the computer and actually use them.You can pre-order Lexar’s 1TB SDXC card now at B&H (the go-to place for real photographers and videographers) for $399. It looks like the official price is $499 so if you’re interested maybe hop on this initial lower price. Now that terabyte SD cards are a thing, we’ve got to go even smaller. It’s only a matter of time before we’ll be popping in 1TB microSD cards to make our phones, tablets, and Nintendo Switch consoles even roomier.