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For the first time ever, X-rays are detected behind black holes.

Stanford University scientists discovered a surprising pattern while analysing X-rays from the supermassive black hole at the centre of a galaxy 800 million light-years away. These rays appear to be being thrown out of the black hole and into the surrounding area.

This phenomena can be explained by the magnificent X-ray flares that supermassive black holes emit as gas falls into them. The flares were then followed by brief X-ray bursts. These flashes were matched by the flare reflections from the disc’s outermost edge.

The observer, Dan Wilkins, witnessed many exciting yet frequent brilliant X-ray flashes. The telescopes were startled by the abrupt emergence of more X-ray flashes because they were later, smaller, and different ‘colours’ than the intense flares.

According to the theory, these remarkable echoes are consistent with X-rays reflecting from the black hole’s shadow.

Wilkins stated that it should be impossible for us to see anything behind the black hole because no light can pass through a black hole. Wilkins works as a research scientist at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at Stanford University.

But what enabled this finding was another peculiar property of the black hole. Because the black hole is twisting space and bending magnetic and optical fields around itself, Wilkins explained, ‘We can see it.’

It is the first instance of direct evidence of light emanating from a black hole, a scenario that Einstein’s general theory of relativity predicted but had never been proven.

The corona, a perplexing feature of some black holes, was the initial focus of this research.


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