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Astronomers discover biggest black holes ever

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Scientists have discovered the two biggest black holes ever observed, each with a mass billions of times greater than the Sun’s, according to a study published Monday.

The two giants are located in the heart of a pair of galaxies several hundred million light years from Earth, said the study in scientific journal Nature.

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Each black hole is estimated to have a mass about 10 billion times greater than the sun, dwarfing the previously largest-known black hole, which has a mass of 6.3 billion suns.

The University of California, Berkeley, team led by Nicholas McConnell and Chung-Pei Ma said one black hole is located in NGC 3842, the brightest of a cluster of galaxies about 320 million light years from Earth.

The second hole is of “comparable or greater mass” and is located in NGC 4889, the brightest galaxy in the Coma cluster, about 335 million light years away.

“These two black holes are significantly more massive than predicted,” the astronomers wrote.

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They said their calculations suggest that different evolutionary processes influence the growth of the largest galaxies and their black holes than in smaller galaxies.

Astronomers have long supposed that since the universe began it has harboured black holes with a mass the size of the two newly found giants.

These cosmic gluttons grow in tandem with their galaxies, slurping up gases, planets and stars.

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“There is a symbiotic relationship between black holes and their galaxies that has existed since the dawn of time,” Kevin Schawinski, a Yale astronomer said in a June study.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Groups sue Trump’s EPA in response to ‘nauseating’ approval of bee-killing pesticide

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"Pure pro-pesticide politics."

A pair of environmental groups on Tuesday filed suit against the President Donald Trump administration over the Environmental Protection Agency's recent approval of expanded use of the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor across 200 million acres in 12 states.

The Center for Food Safety and the Center for Biological Diversity filed the suit (pdf) in the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals against the EPA and agency administrator Andrew Wheeler.

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Israel seeks to beat PTSD with ‘ecstasy’ therapy

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Nachum Pachenick says he lived a nightmare for nearly two decades after being sexually abused and developing post-traumatic stress disorder -- until MDMA therapy came to his rescue.

"It's a life full of stress, pressure, nerves, anxiety, fatigue," the 46-year-old Israeli said from his home in Sde Boaz, a wildcat settlement in the occupied West Bank south of Jerusalem.

"You can't live like that."

Pachenick said relief came in 2014, when he took part in a clinical trial that included the use of MDMA, the active component in the drug known to nightclubbers as ecstasy.

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Plutonium found in Colorado soil at five times higher level than acceptable radioactive level

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Why is there plutonium in the soil of a national wildlife refuge that is five times higher than the rate that demands a "clean up?" It's a question Colorado state health officials are examining Tuesday after their soil sample readings showed 264 picocuries-per-gram found in Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge.

The Denver Post reported the findings of the radioactive substance, but toxicologists at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said they don't believe "there is an immediate public health threat."

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