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TWO COSMIC MYSTERIES. I have personally encountered two cosmic mysteries early in my career – like about 40 years ago. They both involved massive, unprecedented sources of energy. The mysteries continued for decades and occasionally the two encounters kept popping up in my memory. Only in the last few years have both these mysteries been solved – and both explanations involve black holes. This is Part 2. Part 1 was posted about a month ago.

QUASARS. The first time I heard about this high-energy radiation was at the University of Arizona in 1981. I was doing research there on cosmic rays during a sabbatical from Oral Roberts University. A portly astronomer was giving a presentation on quasars, which were objects in the sky that he had mapped in visible light using the large Kitt Peak telescope in Arizona.… More

TWO COSMIC MYSTERIES. I have personally encountered two cosmic mysteries early in my career – like about 40 years ago. They both involved massive, unprecedented sources of energy. The mysteries continued for decades and occasionally the two encounters kept popping up in my memory. Only in the last few years have both these mysteries been solved – and both explanations involve black holes. This is Part 1. Part 2 will come later.

GAMMA RAY BURSTS. I flew into Los Alamos, New Mexico in 1972 to work at the famous scientific laboratory there (only an hour and a half drive from where I now live in Albuquerque). My job was to study data recorded by satellites (called Vela) that looped around the earth – data on high energy protons and electrons specifically.… More

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