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Agujero Negro

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Submitted By angieruhu
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Un agujero negro1 u hoyo negro2 es una región finita del espacio en cuyo interior existe una concentración de masa lo suficientemente elevada para generar un campo gravitatorio tal que ninguna partícula material, ni siquiera la luz, puede escapar de ella. Sin embargo, los agujeros negros pueden ser capaces de emitir radiación, lo cual fue conjeturado por Stephen Hawking en los años 1970. La radiación emitida por agujeros negros como Cygnus X-1 no procede sin embargo del propio agujero negro sino de su disco de acreción.3
La gravedad de un agujero negro, o «curvatura del espacio-tiempo», provoca una singularidad envuelta por una superficie cerrada, llamada horizonte de sucesos. Esto es previsto por las ecuaciones de campo de Einstein. El horizonte de sucesos separa la región del agujero negro del resto del universo y es la superficie límite del espacio a partir de la cual ninguna partícula puede salir, incluyendo los fotones. Dicha curvatura es estudiada por la relatividad general, la que predijo la existencia de los agujeros negros y fue su primer indicio. En los años 70, Hawking, Ellis y Penrose demostraron varios teoremas importantes sobre la ocurrencia y geometría de los agujeros negros.4 Previamente, en 1963, Roy Kerr había demostrado que en un espacio-tiempo de cuatro dimensiones todos los agujeros negros debían tener una geometría cuasi-esférica determinada por tres parámetros: su masa M, su carga eléctrica total e y su momento angular L.
Se conjetura que en el centro de la mayoría de las galaxias, entre ellas la Vía Láctea, hay agujeros negros supermasivos.5 La existencia de agujeros negros está apoyada en observaciones astronómicas, en especial a través de la emisión de rayos X por estrellas binarias y galaxias activas.

En 1995 un equipo de investigadores de la UCLA dirigido por Andrea Ghez demostró mediante simulación por ordenadores la posibilidad de la existencia de agujeros negros supermasivos en el núcleo de las galaxias. Tras estos cálculos mediante el sistema de óptica adaptativa se verificó que algo deformaba los rayos de luz emitidos desde el centro de nuestra galaxia (la Vía Láctea). Tal deformación se debe a un invisible agujero negro supermasivo que ha sido denominado Sgr.A (o Sagittarius A). En 2007-2008 se iniciaron una serie de experimentos de interferometría a partir de medidas de radiotelescopios para medir el tamaño del agujero negro supermasivo en el centro de la Vía Láctea, al que se le calcula una masa 4'5 millones de veces mayor que la del Sol y una distancia de 26.000 años luz (unos 255.000 billones de km respecto de la Tierra).9 El agujero negro supermasivo del centro de nuestra galaxia actualmente sería poco activo ya que ha consumido gran parte de la materia bariónica, que se encuentra en la zona de su inmediato campo gravitatorio y emite grandes cantidades de radiación.
Por su parte, la astrofísica Feryal Özel ha explicado algunas características probables en torno a un agujero negro: cualquier cosa, incluido el espacio vacío, que entre en la fuerza de marea provocada por un agujero negro se aceleraría a extremada velocidad como en un vórtice y todo el tiempo dentro del área de atracción de un agujero negro se dirigiría hacia el mismo agujero negro.
En el presente se considera que, pese a la perspectiva destructiva que se tiene de los agujeros negros, éstos al condensar en torno a sí materia sirven en parte a la constitución de las galaxias y a la formación de nuevas estrellas.
En junio de 2004 astrónomos descubrieron un agujero negro súper masivo, el Q0906+6930, en el centro de una galaxia distante a unos 12.700 millones de años luz. Esta observación indicó una rápida creación de agujeros negros súper masivos en el Universo joven.
La formación de micro agujeros negros en los aceleradores de partículas ha sido informada,10 pero no confirmada. Por ahora, no hay candidatos observados para ser agujeros negros primordiales.
Dejando a un lado los agujeros negros supermasivos que suelen estar en el núcleo de las galaxias y cuya masa son de millones de veces nuestro Sol, el mayor agujero negro de masa estelar conocido hasta la fecha, se descubrió el año 2007 y fue denominado IC 10 X-1. Está en la galaxia enana IC 10 situada en la constelación de Casiopea, a una distancia de 1,8 millones de años luz (17 billones de kilómetros) de la Tierra, con una masa de entre 24 y 33 veces la de nuestro Sol.11
Posteriormente, en abril de 2008, la revista Nature publicó un estudio realizado en la Universidad de Turku (Finlandia). Según dicho estudio, un equipo de científicos dirigido por Mauri Valtonen descubrió un sistema binario, un blazar, llamado OJ 287, en la constelación de Cáncer. Tal sistema parece estar constituido por un agujero negro menor que orbita en torno a otro mayor, siendo la masa del mayor de 18.000 millones de veces la de nuestro Sol, lo que lo convierte en el mayor agujero negro conocido. Se supone que en cada intervalo de rotación el agujero negro menor, que tiene una masa de 100 millones de soles, golpea la ergosfera del mayor dos veces, generándose un cuásar. Situado a 3500 millones de años luz de la Tierra,12 está relativamente cerca de la Tierra para ser un cuásar.

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