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Caught on Video: Something Escaped A Black Hole at Nearly the Speed of Light and NASA Recorded It

Astronomers have captured a black hole ejecting hot material at almost the speed of light into space.A black hole and a companion star are located 10,000 light-years away. These two cosmic items create the MAXI J1820 + 070 system when combined. NASA's Chandra x-ray telescope detected hot matter escaping the black hole at almost the speed of light.

NASA's Chandra Space Telescope recorded footage of a black hole ejecting hot material into space at almost the speed of light.

According to researchers, the black hole in the MAXI J1820 + 070 system has a mass around eight times that of the sun, indicating that it is a so-called stellar-mass black hole created by the collapse of a huge star. In comparison, supermassive black holes have millions or billions of times the mass of the sun.

The companion star orbiting the black hole has a mass about equal to that of the sun. The black hole's enormous gravity pulls the companion star's material toward the black hole's X-ray-producing disc.

The black hole's enormous gravity pulls the companion star's material toward the black hole's X-ray-producing disc.

While part of the heated gas in the disc will reach the "event horizon" and fall into the black hole, some of it will be released from the black hole in a handful of brief beams of jets. These jets point in opposing directions and are released along magnetic field lines from beyond the event horizon.

Chandra's four observations in November 2018 and February, May, and June 2019 provided a fresh film of this black hole's activities. It is revealed in The Astrophysical Journal Letters in a research conducted by Mathilde Espinasse of the University of Paris.

NASA's video below demonstrates what the telescope discovered.

The picture below displays a huge optical and infrared view of the Milky Way galaxy taken from Hawaii's PanSTARRS optical telescope, with MAXI J1820 + 070 highlighted by a cross on the galaxy's plane. The inset depicts a video of Chandra's four observations, with "day 0" corresponding to the first observation on November 13, 2018, nearly four months after the jet was launched.

MAXI J1820 + 070 is the bright X-ray source in the image's center, and X-ray sources can be seen traveling north and south in jets away from the black hole. MAXI J1820 + 070 is an X-ray point source, albeit it seems bigger than a point source due to its brightness. The southern jet is too faint to be identified in May and June 2019 measurements.

Thus, how quickly are the material jets escaping the black hole? From Earth's viewpoint, the northern jet seems to be traveling at 60% the speed of light, while the southern jet appears to be traveling at 160% the speed of light, which sounds preposterous. Nothing, after all, can move faster than the speed of light.

This is an illustration of a phenomenon known as superluminal motion, which happens when an object approaches us at almost the speed of light and in a direction parallel to our line of sight. This implies that the item approaches us nearly as quickly as the light it produces, creating the appearance that the jet is traveling faster than the speed of light.

In the instance of MAXI J1820 + 070, the south jet is pointing toward us while the north jet is facing away from us, implying that the southern aircraft is traveling faster than the north. Only two previous cases of such high-speed X-ray ejections of stellar-mass black holes have been published so far, according to Chandra.

Reference(s): NASA, Research Paper

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