NASA has impressively managed to capture footage of a black hole 7,800 light-years from Earth, which is being likened to a stargate.
A stargate is considered to be a device or portal which can transport a person to another location light-years away in almost the blink of an eye. Anyone else getting some serious 2001: A Space Odyssey vibes here?
The imagery was captured by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory has shown a ‘spectacular’ set of rings circling the black hole, revealing more about the space dust pervading our galaxy!
According to a statement from the Observatory, the black hole forms ‘part of a binary system called V404 Cygni’ that is ‘actively pulling material away from a companion star — with about half the mass of the Sun — into a disk around the invisible object.’ ‘Cosmic dust is not like household dust but is more like smoke, and consists of tiny, solid particles,’ it explained.
The Swift observatory also discovered the X-rays in June 2015. From here, Sebastian Heinz of the University of Wisconsin in Madison led a team of researchers in analysing its observations. After combining photos with optical data from Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS telescope, a composite showed eight separate concentric rings!
Although the rings tell us more about the black hole’s behaviour, it also tells astronomers more about the landscape between the system and Earth.
As the researchers wrote, ‘For example, the diameter of the rings in X-rays reveals the distances to the intervening dust clouds the light ricocheted off. If the cloud is closer to Earth, the ring appears to be larger, and vice versa. The light echoes appear as narrow rings rather than wide rings or haloes because the X-ray burst lasted only a relatively short period of time,’.