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First detection of light from behind a black hole

Dragon
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First detection of light from behind a black hole Empty First detection of light from behind a black hole

Post by Dragon Sat Jul 31, 2021 4:56 am

Watching X-rays flung out into the universe by the supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy 800 million light-years away, Stanford University astrophysicist Dan Wilkins noticed an intriguing pattern.

He observed a series of bright flares of X-rays—exciting, but not unprecedented—and then, the telescopes recorded something unexpected: additional flashes of X-rays that were smaller, later and of different "colors" than the bright flares.


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Post by Dragon Sat Jul 31, 2021 4:58 am

First detection of light from behind a black hole 5-blackhole

According to theory, these luminous echoes were consistent with X-rays reflected from behind the black hole—but even a basic understanding of black holes tells us that is a strange place for light to come from.

"Any light that goes into that black hole doesn't come out, so we shouldn't be able to see anything that's behind the black hole," said Wilkins, who is a research scientist at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at Stanford and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

It is another strange characteristic of the black hole, however, that makes this observation possible. "The reason we can see that is because that black hole is warping space, bending light and twisting magnetic fields around itself," Wilkins explained.


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Post by Dragon Sat Jul 31, 2021 4:59 am



Stanford astronomers discover light from back of black hole for 1st time


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