• Wednesday, May 18, 2022
  • Last Update : 04:24 pm

Astronomers find light behind black hole for first time

  • Published at 03:01 pm July 30th, 2021
Black hole
File photo of This handout picture released by The European southern Observatory, shows an illustration depicting a star (in the foreground) experiencing spaghettification as it’s sucked in by a supermassive black hole (in the background) during a ‘tidal disruption event’ on October 12, 2020 AFP

The discovery confirms Albert Einstein’s theory on general relativity

In a significant scientific development, astronomers have detected light behind a black hole deep in space for the first time.

Bright flares of X-rays were spotted bursting from a supermassive black hole at the centre of a galaxy 800m light years away, which is relatively normal, reports The Guardian.

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 says it is a strange place for light to come from.


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Researchers were studying a feature known as the corona, but telescopes also picked up unexpected “luminous echoes”. These additional flashes were smaller, later and of different colours than the bright flares.

The discovery confirms Albert Einstein’s theory on general relativity. The gravitational pull from black holes essentially bends light rays around themselves, giving scientists their first glimpse of what lies behind.

Roger Blandford, a co-author of the research, published in Nature, said: “Fifty years ago, when astrophysicists started to speculate how the magnetic field might behave close to a black hole, they had no idea that one day we might have the techniques to observe this directly and see Einstein’s general theory of relativity in action.”


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Dan Wilkins, an astrophysicist from Stanford University, said: “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.

“The reason we can see that is because that black hole is warping space, bending light and twisting magnetic fields around itself.”

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