AUSTIN (KXAN) – Black holes have been having a busy month. Researchers around the world have revealed a great deal of new information about the space phenomenon in the last few weeks. Space nerds, it is time to rejoice!
Black holes can be found in deep space. The objects have gravity that is so strong, not even light can escape them. According to NASA, the “surface” of a black hole, called the event horizon, has such a high gravity that you would need to travel faster than the speed of light to escape its pull.
Black holes form when a massive star dies. As the star exhausts its nuclear fuel, it collapses on itself, triggering a supernova explosion. Supermassive black holes, according to NASA, are believed to have been born when galaxies formed.
How an artificial black hole may prove Stephen Hawking right
On November 8th, researchers at the University of Amsterdam were able to create a simulated black hole in a lab. In a paper published in the journal Physical Review Research, the scientists claimed they were able to create a chain of atoms. Electrons skipped along the chain, creating a sort of wave.
According to the paper, the temperature then rose around the atom chain similar to what is expected around black holes. Then it glowed.
This glow is believed to be something called Hawking Radiation. Theorists believe that the gravity is so intense inside a black hole, that not even light can escape it. Stephen Hawking, however, predicted that black holes might actually emit a small amount of light due to tiny fluctuations in the event horizon.
The artificial black hole may prove Hawking’s theory correct.
Flare from space directed towards Earth
A jet of light, aimed at Earth, was detected by scientists this past February. Scientists now think that a supermassive black hole ate a star that passed nearby. The light was as bright as a gamma-ray burst, which is considered the brightest electromagnetic event in the known universe.
The California-based researchers published their results in the journal Nature at the end of November. 21 telescopes around the world helped detect the stellar meal.
The destruction of the star created a high energy jet called a tidal disruption event. These TDE’s occur when a star passes too close to black hole as the black hole rips the star apart. Sometimes the star can survive.
Named AT2022cmc, this recently observed TDE is believed to be the furthest one ever observed. It is believed to have occurred around eight billion years ago.
Music of a black hole
Finally, check this out:
Released on November 23rd, this video is called a sonification and it was produced by NASA using data from the Chandra and Swift observatories.
According to NASA, while light can not escape from a black hole, material around the black hole can produce bursts of electromagnetic radiation.
The bursts can strike gas and dust in space. By imaging these bursts, which contain X-rays, scientists are able to determine how far they’ve traveled and learn more about dust clouds in the space around the black hole.
The black hole in the video is called V404 Cygni. A sonification translates the X-ray data gathered by the two observatories into sound. Volume changes and tick-light sounds can be heard every time an X-ray is detected.
Chandra’s observations are the higher-frequency tones, while the Swift data is the lower tones.
Nearby stars also trigger notes, with the brightness of the star determining the pitch.
Chandra Observatory has a whole bunch of these sonification on their website.