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X-ray technology reveals matter around the black hole for the first time

Researchers found that light does not bend so much around the strong gravitational field of a black hole. The new study was conducted using a new technology called X-ray polarimetry. ( NASA, ESA, Martin Kornmesser )

Researchers have discovered how the strong gravitational field of a black hole affects the shape of the matter surrounding it.

An international research team from Japan and Sweden has found that light reflected from the accretion disk around a black hole is scattered by an extended corona, a mysterious source of highly charged particles surrounding a black hole.

The team says that their findings provide new insights into the nature of strong gravitation and pave the way for a better understanding of the evolution of black holes.

First Black Hole Detected

In a new article published in the journal Nature Astronomy the team studied the Cygnus X-1

black hole system, a pair consisting of a black hole and a star in The Cygnus constellation is 6,070 light-years from Earth.

Cygnus X-1, which is the first human-discovered black hole, is one of the brightest X-ray sources in the sky. However, scientists have long been concerned about the nature of matter that generates this X-ray emission.

Black holes are regions in space defined by an extremely strong gravitational field. The pull of the black holes is so strong that even light can not escape after the event horizon.

For this reason, it is virtually impossible to examine black holes with telescopes with visible light. Instead, experts study light that comes from the matter surrounding the black hole. In the case of Cygnus X-1, the researchers studied the light coming from the star moving in orbit around the black hole.

X-rays from black holes penetrate polarized filters

Light travels in multiple directions. To move light in one direction only, scientists use polarizing filters that cut off light from other sources.

This is the same method used for polarized ski goggles. The polarizing filters on the lens block out the light reflected from the snow to minimize glare. It works the same way when it comes to hard X-rays from black holes.

"But hard X-rays and gamma rays coming from near the black hole penetrate this filter," says Hiromitsu Takahashi, co-author and assistant professor at Hiroshima University. "There are no such '& gt; goggles for these rays, so we need another special kind of treatment to direct and measure this light scattering."

The Form of Matter Around the Black Hole

Using a new technique called X-Ray polarimetry, researchers were able to distinguish the shape of the matter that generates abundant X-rays in Cygnus X-1.

The researchers launched an X-ray polarimeter on the stratospheric balloon PoGO + to identify them

enabling them to determine the hard X-rays that bounced off the black hole accretion disk and identified the shape of the matter around the black hole.

There are two predominant models for the shape of matter around a black hole. The first is the lamppost model in which the black hole is tightly connected to a corona. In this scenario, the light particles are bent towards the disk, which reflects more light from the disk.

The second model is the extended model, in which the corona is scattered around the black hole. This means that the light reflected by the accretion disk is much weaker than in the lantern model.

The researchers found that the light near the black hole does not bend so much, suggesting the advanced model] Now watch: 30 Gadgets and Tech Gifts for Father's Day 2018 This dad will think are wheel

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