It’s pretty far from here…

June 21, 2011

Black hole shreds star, sparking gamma ray flash
What makes this even stranger is that the black hole, located in the constellation Draco (The Dragon) about 4 billion light years, or 24 trillion miles (38.62 trillion km) from Earth, was sitting quietly, not eating much, when a star about the mass of our Sun moved into range.

This story contains a very large order of magnitude error.

Four billion light years is certainly not 24 trillion miles but 24 zettamiles, or 23 followed by 21 zeros. If the reporting were correct, then a light year would equal only about 6000 miles! Conversely, twenty-four trillion miles is not 4 billion light years, but 4 light years (the closest black hole to Earth is 1600 light years away).

Kabeyun

Numbers like these make my head hurt, but a surprising number of sharp-eyed readers caught our mistake. We corrected it: GBU Editor

An artist’s impression of a growing supermassive black hole located in the early Universe is seen in this NASA handout illustration released on June 15, 2011. Credit: Reuters/NASA/Chandra X-Ray Observatory/A.Hobart/Handout

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