Light and X-Ray echoes detected from behind a Black Hole for the first time

Einstein’s general relativity predicted that the supermassive black hole has so extreme magnetic and gravitational atmosphere that not even light itself can escape, but interestingly Stanford astronomers have now observed some strange light in the form of X-ray echoes coming from behind one of these cosmic bodies.

As per the research published in Nature, astronomers have directly spotted the reflected light in the form of X-ray echoes from a supermassive black hole, which is almost 800 million light-years away and is located in a galaxy called I Zwicky 1 (I Zw 1). This incident seems to put more information about the darkest objects.

An astrophysicist named Dan Wilkins from Stanford University says,

“Any light that goes inside black hole does not come out so we might not be able to see what’s happening behind the black hole, but the main reason for this incident(the X-ray echoes reflected light) is because the black holes are wrapping space, and also bends light, twisting magnetic field around itself.”

However, I Zw 1* is an active blackhole that has a specific accretion disk – it’s basically a very huge flattened disk of dust and gas swirling into the object. The disk usually gets very hot because of the influence of the frictional and magnetic field, the intensity of temperature is so much that electrons get stripped from atoms and form the magnetized plasma.

The magnetic field ruptures and reconnects again, because of intense twisting in it. In a blackhole, the corona works like a synchrotron to accelerate the electrons up to such high energies that start shining in X-ray wavelengths.

Briefing this incident Wilkins said that,

“This magnetic field getting tied up and after that, it’s snapping close to the black hole heated up everything around it and produces the high energy electron which then led to producing the X-rays”.

Few X-ray photons irradiate the accretion disk and are then reprocessed through photoelectric absorption and fluorescence. Then again emitted which is called reverberation echo also referred to as ‘reflection’ in the X-ray spectrum. The reflection emission can be used to point out the closest area to the event horizon of a black hole.

For now, we do not have full knowledge of coronas swirling around many of these cosmic bodies in our universe. But European Space Agency’s Wide Field Image Detector may provide us with higher resolution in the future, which should help unravel more mysteries around them.


  1. […] Detection of light behind a black hole a few days earlier is just the beginning, as a new discovery adds some important information about one of the biggest mysterious things in the universe i.e. Black Hole. Now scientists have caught an amazing set of concentric rings around a black hole which is continuously drawing material away from a star (having half the mass of the sun). […]


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