New X-Ray Technology Reveals Never-Before-Seen Matter Around Black Hole


Over the years, astronomers have been intrigued by the black holes. As light cannot escape from the black holes, these spaces cannot be seen and are essentially invisible. Scientists and researchers use special space telescopes that help in detecting the black holes and in trying to ascertain about what these black holes are made of exactly and whether they can destroy our planet.

Now, it looks like they have found an answer to this question with the help of a special x-ray technology that allowed them, for the first time, to see new matter around black holes. In an international collaboration between Sweden and Japan, astronomers were able to clarify how gravity has an effect on the shape of a matter that is near the black hole in the binary system Cygnus X-1 with the help of a technique known as X-ray polarimetry.

The new findings, which have been published this month in the journal Nature Astronomy is supposed to help researchers in understanding the physics of such a strong gravity around the black holes and the evolution of the galaxies and black holes.

The Cygnus constellation has a star at its center which is orbiting the first black hole discovered in the universe and forming the Cygnus X-1 binary system together with the black hole which is itself one of the brightest sources of x-rays in the sky. However, observing this black hole is not an easy task as light cannot pass through it. So, in order to take a picture of it, scientists have to observe the light that is emanated from the matter which is close to the black hole. In the case of Cygnus X-1, this matter was coming from a star that was very closely orbiting the black hole.

The new finding is a significant breakthrough which enables the astronomers to further detect, study and determine the shape of the matter around the black hole with the help of X-ray polarimetry. The information revealed will also help the scientists to better understand the characteristics of the black holes while also uncovering the many unknowns of the universe that have been challenging to the astronomers until now.