The Mysterious Black Hole ‘Blink’ That You Need To Know About

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This is pretty much the first time astronomers have witnessed this phenomenal occurrence, something that has been termed as a ‘blink’ in a Black Hole. While the whole world is reeling under a deadly virus called the ‘corona’ virus, somewhere about a 100 million light-years away, something funny with a different corona has happened!

Astronomers from MIT and from other places have noticed that a Black Hole’s Corona has just disappeared in an unexplained manner. Black Holes are not capable of glowing because they are supposed to do just the opposite. However, after actively sucking in material from space blazing like X-rays, it just disappeared. 

The reason behind this ‘blink’ seems unclear and unexplained but astronomers have stated that it could be because a star might have gotten caught in the black hole’s gravitational pull. This could be the reason behind the calamity.

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The plausible explanation with regards to this situation is that perhaps the star might have been drawn in through the disk of swirling particles which caused the other materials, including the high energy particles to be drawn into the black hole.

Astronomers have been watching and keep an eye on this phenomena for about 40 days after which they concluded that the corona has completely hurtled into brightness before it rose again and shone brighter than before.

The Black Hole is supermassive and has a whopping 19 million solar masses, has a galactic nucleus of 275 million light-years in a galaxy which is called 1ES 1927+654. Due to this phenomenon as observed by astronomers, there has been a substantial and considerable drop in the brightness of the Black Hole, almost by a factor of 10,000 in less than even a year.

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We expect that luminosity changes this big should vary on timescales of many thousands to millions of years, but in this object, we saw it change by 10,000 over a year, and it even changed by a factor of 100 in eight hours, which is just totally unheard of and really mind-boggling,” said Erin Kara, assistant professor of physics at MIT. 

The corona’s disappearance has made astronomers conclude that it was a result of the Black Hole slowly pulling together material from the outer edges into the disk. This, in turn, began to increase high energy X-rays close to the horizon of the Black Hole’s event.

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It is now said that very soon, the Black Hole will be able to generate a new corona, which will establish its original luminosity. “This seems to be the first time we’ve ever seen a corona first of all disappear, but then also rebuild itself, and we’re watching this in real-time, this will be really important to understanding how a black hole’s corona is heated and powered in the first place,” Kara mentions.

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Anushmita Samal
Books, art, aesthetics, colours and undying love for lemon tarts and flowers!

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