Bonkers black hole discovery proves Einstein theory right 106 years later - Inverse
Jul 29, 2021 1 min, 8 secs
The massive gravity of a black hole actually bent X-ray echoes from around its back.

Through a serendipitous observation of exceptionally bright X-ray flares around the supermassive black hole and careful analysis of the flare’s “echoes,” researchers were able to prove that what they were actually seeing were X-ray reflections from behind the black hole.

It’s coming from all the way behind the black hole, being bent all the way around into our line of sight,” he says.

How they did it — As stellar gas and dust fall into a supermassive black hole, they flatten out and spin around it in a disk, like water going down a drain, Wilkins says.

“The echoes that come off the far side of the disk — the part that is hidden by the shadow of the black hole — actually get bent around the edge of the black hole.”.

Most such objects are too distant to photograph, but Wilkins says they can now use measurements of X-ray echoes as a sort of sonar “to reconstruct that picture, of that map, of the extreme environment outside a black hole.”

What’s next — The immediate next step for Wilkins and other researchers is to refine the new techniques to get better and better measurements of X-ray echoes, as well as a better picture of what the area around a black hole actually looks like


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