First-Ever Light Detected Behind a Black Hole

Most space enthusiasts are aware that nothing can escape the tremendous gravitational pull of a black hole but, for the first time ever, scientists have detected light coming from behind a black hole located 800 million light-years from Earth. While flares of light around a black hole aren’t uncommon, astrophysicist Dan Wilkins and his colleagues had been observing a particular supermassive black hole (using NASA’s NuSTAR and the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton telescopes) and “noticed smaller flashes of x-rays that occurred later and were different colors”—and they were coming from a different location on the far side of the black hole. “Any light that goes into that black hole doesn’t come out, so we shouldn’t be able to see anything that’s behind the black hole,” says Wilkins. Not only is this a first-ever observation, it also supports a prediction based in Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity—the idea that our understanding of gravity comes from the curvature of space and time. Read more at CNN.

Image courtesy of NASA