When you talk about black holes, the general rule of thumb is that they absorb anything you put into them. When light rays are sucked into a black hole, that’s it. There’s no seeing it ever again. But now one scientific discovery has scientists scratching their heads because they are able to see ultraviolet light being emitted from the super massive black hole (*cue Muse song*).
The working theory is that the black hole is warping space.
Leading the discovery is Dan Wilkins, a research scientist at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at Stanford and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. He says that this is interesting because, “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.”
“The reason we can see that is because that black hole is warping space, bending light and twisting magnetic fields around itself,” Wilkins continued.
The discovery was detailed in a paper published in Nature July 28th. This is an important discovery because it helps to prove Einstein’s original theory of general relativity. The theory was never confirmed but this discovery proves he was right. This is the first observation of light from behind a black hole.
What was Einstein’s theory?
According to NASA the theory is one that says that space and time can be warped.
But, in 1905, Einstein published his theory of special relativity, which showed that space and time were interwoven as a single structure he dubbed space-time. Then, over the next decade, he worked to incorporate gravity into this picture. The result was general relativity.NASA
It’s like if you were to have a mesh fabric stretched out. If you set a heavy ball in the center the fabric would concave and warp due to the weight of it’s gravity. In this case, the super massive black hole is the ball.
It’s pretty interesting to say the least. I won’t pretend I’m the expert here because there is a lot to unpack that I’m simply not qualified to explain. Read more information about the discovery or about Einstein’s theory, read here or here.