Astronomers discovered strange flares that turned out to be reflections from the back of the hole. Scientists saw them while observing X-rays emitted by a supermassive black hole.
These flares are the first direct observation of light from behind a black hole. As you know, this cosmic phenomenon was predicted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity, but not yet confirmed.
In a new study, Stanford University astrophysicist Dan Wilkins studied a supermassive black hole in the center of a galaxy 800 million light-years from Earth. During observations of X-ray flares, telescopes recorded additional flares that appeared later than the main ones, they were less bright and of different “colors”. These light echoes, or reflections, were calculated to correspond to X-rays that bounced off the back of the black hole.
Any light that enters the black hole does not come out of it, so we should not see what is behind. The reason scientists have observed flares is because the black hole bends space, deflects light, and twirls magnetic fields around it.
Initially, the study was aimed at studying the corona, an element that some black holes possess. Material falling into a supermassive black hole fuels the brightest continuous light sources in the universe and in the process forms a corona of X-ray light around the black hole.
The authors will continue to describe and study black hole crowns. They pin special hopes on the Athena space telescope of the European Space Agency. It is noted that its launch is planned in 10 years.