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Light emitted from the far side of a black hole was first observed

Light emitted from the far side of a black hole was first observed

Artistic representation of a supermassive black hole surrounded by a magnetized plasma disk, emitting bursts of X-rays – © Dan Wilkins/Stanford University/CC BY-NC-ND

Although black holes are known to be dark objects, astronomers at Stanford University have just spotted strange light coming from the far side of one of them.

An unprecedented note

The gravitational force of a Black hole So strong that even light cannot escape from it. This, of course, makes these strange things invisible, but it turns out that the light produced around them can reveal their presence. When these cosmic monsters absorb dust and gases, the resulting intense energy heats these materials up to incredible temperatures, resulting in highly magnetized plasma that glows brightly. Thus, the black hole appears as a circular silhouette on this luminous disk.

Sometimes flashes X ray It can be seen issued from the disk. In the harsh environment of a black hole, the plasma’s magnetic field can twist and curve, eventually shattering and releasing high-energy electrons. These in turn generate X-ray flashlights.

In this new study published in the journal natureResearchers have begun to study the cause of radiation detected around a supermassive black hole located 800 million light-years away. While doing so, they noticed something new: tiny flashes of X-rays sometimes followed by tiny flashes of X-rays, of different wavelengths. Depending on the model, these subsequent flashes were the same as the X-ray fragments that reflected from the back of the drive. This is the first time astronomers have seen light emitted from the far side of a black hole.

Animation showing how light is reflected off the back of a black hole – © ESA / CC BY-NC-ND

This black hole distorts space, bends light and twists magnetic fields around it.

« Any light entering this black hole does not go out, so we shouldn’t be able to see anything behind it. ‘, he explains Dan Wilkins, co-author of the study. ” The reason we see this is because this black hole distorts space, bending light, and twisting magnetic fields around it.. »

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This phenomenon is known as gravity lens, where a sufficiently large mass can distort the surrounding spacetime canvas. This has the effect of bending the path of light from distant objects, such as stars, quasars, and galaxies, that appear in different parts of the sky. Sometimes the light is divided, so that it appears simultaneously in two places, or events such as supernovae Repeat at different times.

According to the team, the next generation of X-ray telescopes should be able to more accurately capture X-rays from black holes, helping to illuminate the mysteries surrounding them.