Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

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Using machine-learning to scan the sky

How do you decipher the inner workings of a cosmic cataclysm 3 billion light years away and 3 billion years in the past?
July 24, 2017
black hole with jets

This artist’s concept shows a “feeding,” or active, supermassive black hole with a jet streaming outward at nearly the speed of light. Blazars are categorized differently than other active black holes with jets because they have unique properties when viewed by telescopes.CREDIT: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Using machine-learning to scan the sky

by Spencer Johnson

If you watch the night sky for a while, you’ll start to notice changes. Meteors streak by, the International Space Station glides over in silence, an airplane blinks overhead. Among these celestial transients, less noticeable but far more powerful objects called blazars flash on and off, in brilliant gamma-ray outbursts and flashes of visible light that can last for hours, days, or even weeks.

This story first appeared in National Geographic.


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