For the first time, scientists have seen the light from behind a black hole.
Black holes are regions in space-time where gravity is so powerful that not even light can escape its grip. Although light cannot escape a black hole, the extreme gravitational force revolves around space, allowing light to “echo”, bending around the back of the object. Due to this strange phenomenon, astronomers have for the first time observed the light from behind a black hole.
In a new study, researchers led by Dan Wilkins, an astrophysicist at Stanford University in California, used the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton and NASA’s NuSTAR space telescopes to observe the light from behind a black hole. which is 10 million times more massive than our sun and lies 800 million light-years away in the spiral galaxy I Zwicky 1, according to a statement from ESA.
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This study began with the desire of researchers to expand our understanding of black hole coronas, which are the source of the X-ray light that often radiates from the vicinity of these objects. , Bright torches of X-ray light are emitted by gas falling into black holes of their application disks, the disks of dust and gas that surround and “remove” these objects.
The team saw an X-rayflare in I Zwicky 1 that was so bright that some of the light reflected on the gas that fell back into the black hole. When that reflected light around the back of the black hole was bent by the extreme gravity of the object, the team was able to spot it with the ESA and NASA space telescopes.
Not only did the team observe this light, which is the first time it has been observed this way; they also took note of how the X-ray light changed color as it bent and moved around the back of the black hole. Through the journey of light to observe the back of the black hole, the researchers hope to understand more about what is actually happening near this gravitational vortex.
Following this groundbreaking study, the team aims to create a 3D map of the Black Hole environment, according to the statement. They also hope to better understand black corona and investigate how the corona of a black hole is capable of producing these bright X-ray torches.
This work was described in a study published on July 28 in the journal Nature.
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