Light Echoes Seen From Behind Black Hole Help Confirm Einstein's Theory of Relativity, Media Says
Researchers are creating a "3D map of the black hole’s surroundings" using X-rays' echoes.
An international team of scientists led by Dan Wilkins of Stanford University has detected light coming from behind a black hole for the first time ever, SciTechDaily reports.
The supermassive black hole the scientists focused their attention on is located in the centre of a galaxy approximately 800 million light years away from our planet.
Via the ESA’s XMM-Newton and NASA’s NuSTAR space telescopes, the team was able to spot "extremely bright flares of X-ray light" coming from around the humongous celestial body.
According to the media outlet, the flare observed by the scientists was "so bright that some of the X-rays shone down onto the disk of gas falling into the black hole."
While light cannot escape a black hole’s pull, it seems that the team saw "light echoes" that "bent around the black hole" in question due to the space around that celestial body being warped by "extreme gravity."
The team’s observations reportedly match the predictions in Albert Einstein’s theory of General Relativity regarding the manner in which gravity bends light around black holes.
As echoes of X-rays appear to change colour while the rays travel around the black hole, researchers are now using this technique "to create a 3D map of the black hole’s surroundings," the media outlet adds.