Black Holes and the High Energy Universe

2016, Science  -  24 min Leave a Comment
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The most powerful and violent events are not Earth-bound. They're taking place right now in space. The mysteries of the violent and highly magnetized objects in our universe set the foundation for the new documentary short titled Black Holes and the High Energy Universe.

Specifically, the film is concerned with the study of black holes, quasars, and supernovas, and in exploring the various means our astronomers have employed in researching them.

Do black holes really exist? What is the nature of quasars? How are supernovas formed, and what elements do they contain? Just decades ago, these questions remained unanswered. Thanks to a series of groundbreaking exploratory missions, and the most advanced imaging technologies in the field, these perplexities are now clearer to us than ever before.

Each of the missions profiled in the film utilizes profoundly sophisticated telescopes which are tailored to serve specific functions. There's the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, which surveys the sky in search of high energy phenomena. First launched in 2008, this intensely sensitive instrument captures invaluable data and stunning images of gamma-ray bursts, black hole signatures, and other extreme activities in our universe.

Gamma-ray explosions occur in our skies at least once a day, but our comprehension of their cause has remained a puzzle. The Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission seeks to rectify this by collecting detailed data from each individual burst. The Chandra Mission records high-energy supernovas and quasars with the most advanced X-ray system ever devised. The NuSTAR Mission also utilizes telescopic x-ray technologies to travel the orbit in search of black holes, supernovas, and cosmic rays.

Finally, the Hubble Space Telescope has proven perhaps most useful in deepening our understanding of the universe. It has assisted us in tracing galaxies through each evolutionary stage, mapping the age of our universe, and in furthering scientific theories on the existence of dark energy. It has also helped us identify M87, which is one of the largest galaxies in the known universe.

Black Holes and the High Energy Universe is distinguished by a wealth of jaw-dropping imagery captured from each of these missions, and it's authoritative, yet easily digestible narration.

Directed by: Thomas Lucas