130 million light-years away, in the center of galaxy NGC 3147, lurks a particularly bizarre supermassive black hole.
The black hole recently discovered by astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope According to a European Space Agency (ESA) press release, a much larger disk of material orbits the galaxy as scientists had expected. Since the disk revolves so close to the black hole and the rest of the galaxy is so dark, astronomers believe they have directly observed Einstein's theories of general and special relativity in action.
Too Close For Comfort
The disk, which rotates at one tenth of the speed of light, orbits the supermassive black hole so closely that its gravity changes the way the light moves away from it. While the light is difficult to escape, its wavelength is stretched, making the disc appear redder.
"This is a fascinating view of a disk that is very close to a black hole, so close that the velocities and intensity of gravity affect each other, as we see the photons of light," said the astronomer Stefano Bianchi from the Università degli Studi Roma Tre in the press release.
READ MORE: HUBBLE DISCOVERS MYSTERIOUS BLACK HOLE [HEIC1