Speed Reads


NASA telescope observes light near black holes

NASA telescope observes light near black holes

NASA's NuSTAR telescope has observed the relation of light and black holes like never before.

In a press release Tuesday, NASA revealed that the NuSTAR has been observing black holes and light emissions via X-ray for the last two years. The NuSTAR observed the effect of a supermassive black hole's gravity on nearby light emissions, and the results are stunning.

The NuSTAR focused its observation this year on Markarian 335, a black hole that recently became substantially brighter. The telescope found that Markarian 335 had absorbed the light of a corona that collapsed into the black hole.

Fiona Harrison, NuSTAR's main investigator, said in a statement that the telescope observed the corona "lighting up material around the black hole" and will help NASA study "the most extreme, light-bending effects" of Einstein's theory of relativity. The NuSTAR's findings could help NASA better understand black holes as well as coronas.

Below is an artist's rendering of a corona near a black hole. --Meghan DeMaria