The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, October 30, 1998, Page 4, Image 4

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Erin Gibson
Cliff Hicks
Nancy Christensen
Brad Davis
Sam McKewon
Jeff Randall
Bret Schulte
“I’m a hawk-but I’m a cheap hawk.
I believe we should reduce the Pentagon
to a triangle.”
House Speaker Newt Gingrich, in his
speech supporting 2nd district congression
al nominee Lee Terry
“Students are the ones that pour their
hearts into the campaign. We love our
Kristi Klein, volunteer coordinator for
gubernatorial candidate Bill Hoppner, on
student support
“Working together was the key to
Mayor Mike Johannes, looking back on
the one-year anniversary of the October
1997 blizzard
“We get zero percent student fees,
zero percent institutional funding. That’s
NUAthletic Director Bill Byrne, on
where the athletic department gets its find
“We just can’t monitor every time
somebody passes gas, but we want to
remain vigilant (about conduct).”
Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity alumni
board member Rob Otte, on the arrest of an
ATO member for making fake IDs for
“While the adjectives strange, weird,
graphic, unnecessary, distasteful, inde
cent and offensive are applicable to
Harrold’s video, it is not legally obscene.”
Judge Richard Sievers, in the ruling that
dismissed the charges against Scott
“ _ _ ku’reaM'ih
ner, you m’t accept losing at all. That
was a team we could have beat and prob
ably should have beat, but offensively, we
lost the game.”
MU running back Devin West, on the
results of the NU-MU game
“With four seconds left I turned to
their huddle and asked them if they
remembered anything like this.”
NU rush end Chad Kelsay, on the simi
larities of this years NU-MU game to last
> -
^The vintage instruments have a lot jjj
to do wiilk our sound.”
John Helwick, Radio King s vocalist, on
how the band stays true its style
“The real question is what the audi
ence is going to think, and I hope they
like this and maybe go away thinking
that opera isn’t just for older people and
serious stuff - that opera can be a lot of
Professor Randall Snyder, on his one
act comic opera, "Divine Madness”
“Personally, I feel like I can go out
there and lead this team, whether it be
starting or just coming into whatever
role it is.”
Senior NU quarterback Monte Christo
on his role on the team
■■ ■ ^ r-\- ' . y
,-■ - - .-T ..-Ti
Editorial PaUcy
Unsigned editorials are the opinions of
the Spring 1998 Daily Nebraskan. They
do ndt necessarily reflect the views of the
University of Nebraska-Lincoin, its
employees, its student body or the
University of Nebraska Board of Regents.
A column is solely the opinion of its author.
The Board of Regents serves as pubfisher
of the Daily Nebraskan; policy is set by
the Daily Nebraskan Editorial Board. The
UNL Publications Board, established by
ihe regents, supervisee Jhe production
of thepaper. According to policy set by ,
the regents, responsibltv for the editorial
cordent of the newspaper lee eolety in
the hands of ife studentemployees.
Letter Policy
The Daily Nebraskan welcomes brief §2
v letters to the editor and guest columns, £
> but does not ouarantee their publication.
The Daily Nebraskan retains the rigtit to
edit or reject any matehal submitted.
Submitted material becomes property of
Nebraskan and cannot be
Anonymous submissions will
not be published. Those who submit
letters must identify themselves by name,
year in school, major and/or group
affiliation, if any.
Submit materia to: Daily Nebraskan, 34
Nebraska Union, 1400 R St Lincoln,
NE. 68588-0448. E-mail:
' ' ' Mook's
I«TDK Sll*a 15 f
H fCQSTOKE mi TatMlj
No milky center
Great Annihilator reigns at heart of galaxy
senior English major and a
Daily Nebraskan colum
For years, we have spent immeasur
able amounts of time and money in
hopes of answering the question of
whether or not life exists on other plan
ets or within other galaxies.
Underneath our fascination with
the possibility of life outside our world,
a separate galactic mission has existed
with a fraction of the publicity: the
attempt to determine what lies at the
center of the Milky Way. -
For a long time, scje^ists qouldnot
discern the nature ofthe’center because
of vast, dense clouds of dust and fnm
dreds of millions of stars concentrated
in and around the core, blocking the
A rr»rvr»rr rxru* fnlliAn nliAt-Anc aPirici *
ble light aimed toward a telescope on
Earth, only one will make it If die sun’s
light was filtered in this manner, it
would not be visible to the naked eye.
As early as the 1930s, scientists *
discovered that photons of much lower
frequency cannot be as easily blocked
by dust. They began detecting a hiss
and cackle of apparently dense stores
of hydrogen and other elements present
in the center of tiie Milky Way.
In die 1950s, they distinguished an
abnormally powerful source of radio
noise within the center. It became
known as Sagittarius A since the noise
comes from the direction of the con
stellation of Sagittarius, and scientists
thought it might be the remains of a
supernova, a star that had exploded.
If so, that would make it hard to
support the previous idea of a dormant
and seemingly uninteresting core.
Scientists were even more fascinat
ed that much of the central energy was
coming from an even narrower region
within Sgr A which was named Sgr A*
(or the “A star”).
It wasn’t until 1997 that
astronomers finally reached a consen
sus on the makeup of Sgr A*, thanks to
research conducted by two independent
I groups of investigators* j /
Andrea Ghez led one of the groups
from UCLA in this crucial research.
For five years, she ventured annually to
MaunaKea, Hawaii, for the use of a
telescope allowing the clearest view on
Earth of Sgr A*.
She helped develop a technique for
the needed resolution, 20 times greater
than ground-based telescopes and three
times greater than the Hubble Space
Telescope, which involved taking a
rapid seriesof snapshots that could be
averaged to cancel out distorting
effects caused by our atmosphere.
This led to the determination that
the closer the stars were to the very
center of the galaxy, the faster they
orbited, up to 900 miles per second.
Whatever was keeping stars in an
orbit that fast had to have the mass of
2.5 million suns, all packed into a den
sity at least a trillion times that of its
galactic outer regions.
Only one scientific entity harbors
those specifications and adheres to
those laws of physics.
A black hole.
Sgr A* became known as the Great
' Annihilator. It crams the entirety of its
multiraiilion-staf mass into a space
smaller than one atom; infinitely small
according to Einstein’s general theory
of relativity.
Rlar*lr hnl« rmrpcMit a tnio micftt
of science because they spawn the most
luminous objects in the universe, which
result from a phenomenon known as
When matter is propelled into die
Mack hole and pulled by the hole’s all
powerful gravity, the matter heats up
and radiates that heat away as light until
it disappears past the “event horizon” -
the point beyond which nothing (not
even light) can escape the hole’s violent
gravitational pull.
The Milky Way’s Great Annihilator
provides for temperatures approaching
10 billion degrees, cataclysmic winds,
searing radiation, magnetic fields that
roil and squeeze atoms until they shine,
and vast fountains of hot gas.
Perhaps the most interesting prop
erty of the Great Annihiktor is its abili
ty to split a star in half. When a star gets
i, too close to the Mack hole, die hole’s
gravity suc& in half the star while the
other half careers ahead in its natural
high speed orbit
These immense discoveries have
led scientists to debate over the specific
classification of die Milky Way. The
most controversial way to categorize
galaxies is by the activity displayed by
their cores.
Quasgrs rule supreme as very
yoHPg arid extremely distant gafax jes
winch produce as much tight as the
entire Milky Way from a core only a
millionth of the Milky Way’s diameter.
Seyfert galaxies are next in line as
forms of miniquasars. They produce a
great deal of radiation from their core
that is less than a quasar’s but still spec
tacular by general standards.
After that, starburst galaxies come
into the picture. These galaxies harness
a brilliant stream of light produced by
the rapid burning and eventual explo
sive death of millions of massive young
The Milky Way previously has fall
en into a fourth and unnamed category
of galaxies that have no known
immensely radiating core or swarm of
superheated stellar studs packed tightly
into die center.
For a galaxy harnessing a core such
as the Great Annihilator, the ensuing
emissions of light should be 100,000
times as bright as they are, according to
Boston University astronomer John
Mattox. This, he says, essentially keeps
the Milky Way from being classified as
a starburst galaxy.
Other scientists concede this and
theorize that the Milky Way may once
have resembled a starburst galaxy, but
now it does not possess the brilliantr
supernova activity typical of starburst
galaxies and perhaps may again some
time in the distant future.
You’d think with a name like the
“Great Annihilator” the Milky Way
would merit a step up in galactic stan
Harvard astrophysicist Ramesh
Narayan has developed a theory based
on the idea that matter pulled toward a
black hole radiates away its heat only
when the particles composing the mat
ter have a chance to interact with one
another, thus allowing radiating pho
tons to be coaxed horn particles by
other particles to be emitted as light
If the particles don’t come close
enough to each other, they won’t entice
one another to release the photons and
therefore won’t radiate as much, thus
explaining the inhibitory nature of the
Great Annihilator.
Cooper’s Law: Every truth about
the universe is relative. When we can’t
find any “right" answers, we must pur
sue the best ones.
It seems evident that solving this
mystery surrounding our “ordinary’’
galaxy is far from over, but the journey
has been taken much farther than ever
Now we know that the center of the
Milky Way is not a vat of nothingness
hiding behind clowkofdust and mil
lions is » Mack hole, one of
the most mysterious scientific phenom
ena lmown to humans.
’ ■