Astronomers observe light from behind a black hole for the first time

Astronomers observe light from behind a black hole for the first time

Scientists announced the first-ever observation of light from behind a black hole

Black holes are notorious for having such a strong gravitational pull that not even light can escape it, but that doesn’t mean that light can’t bend around it — in fact, the exceptionally strong gravity makes it more likely. 

A new study by researchers observed this phenomenon for the first time, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced Wednesday

An artist’s concept illustrates a supermassive black hole. A new theoretical study outlines a method that could be used to search for wormholes in the background of supermassive black holes.

An artist’s concept illustrates a supermassive black hole. A new theoretical study outlines a method that could be used to search for wormholes in the background of supermassive black holes. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The researchers, led by Dan Wilkins of Stanford University, used the ESA’s XMM-Newton and NASA’s NuSTAR space telescopes to observe light from behind a supermassive black hole located in the center of a nearby spiral galaxy called I Zwicky 1, about 800 million light-years from Earth.

ASTEROID THE SIZE OF GIZA PYRAMID, TAJ MAHAL TO PASS ‘CLOSE’ TO EARTH

The study did not expect to see anything, instead aiming to discover more information about a black hole’s “corona.” 

The “corona,” the researchers theorized, was the result of gas that falls continuously into the black hole, creating a spinning disk around it. 

FIREBALL BLAZES ACROSS TEXAS SKY

The gas, though, creates a pathway for the light to bend around the black hole itself: The gas heats up to millions of degrees and generates magnetic fields that twist into knots until they snap, releasing the energy stored inside it. The burst also produces X-ray light so bright that it reflects off the gas disk and falls into the black hole as well as around it. 

The light is called an “echo,” and the bend is a phenomenon that Albert Einstein predicted in his theory of General Relativity. 

ASTRONOMERS MAKE FIRST DETECTION OF THIS ‘MOON-FORMING’ PHENOMENON

The phenomenon is more than just a cool trick: The light also changes color as it bends depending on the environment. Astronomers believe they can use this light to create a 3D map of a black hole and it surroundings. 

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“It’s a key part of the puzzle to understanding how the galaxies formed and how the universe as we know it became how it is,” Dr. Wilkins said, according to ABC 7.