Astronomers at Kyoto University, Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the RIKEN Institute and Hiroshima University have found that black holes can be observed using regular telescopes. However, black holes themselves do not emit light.
According to Space.com, anything that is pulled in by a black hole does not come back out, especially not light. As Space.com explains, this absence of light is where black holes got their name. Researchers are able to study black holes by observing light because of the material that accumulates around a black hole.
When a black hole rips a part a galaxy, left over material such as different gases and dust create disks that form around the black hole. Friction between these left over materials coupled with x-rays bring immense heat to these disks where these materials accrete. Phys.org states that x-rays heat the outer ring of a black hole’s accretion disk which brings forth the possibility to see the light via telescope.
The discovery of accretion disks was made nearly 40 years ago. Space.com explains that the accretion disks of black holes may have impacts on the galaxy, or galaxies, that are located close by. These impacts are due to streams of plasma that travel from the accretion disks and have the ability to transform the evolution of a galaxy.
Space.com reported that researchers needed to investigate accretion disks around black holes in order to understand the light created by these disks and how matter behaves as it is pulled in. From this research they found that the light fluctuation from the black hole’s accretion disk could be seen by using a 20 cm telescope.
The new finding is important because scientists usually observe black holes by studying x-rays or gamma-rays, but now they are able to observe them by studying light fluctuations from the surrounding accretion disks
Astronomers studied optical variations in an international collaborative effort, but because matter operates differently as it approaches a black hole, much is still unknown and more research is needed. The new finding is important because scientists usually observe black holes by studying x-rays or gamma-rays, but now they are able to observe them by studying light fluctuations from the surrounding accretion disks. A video of their findings can be seen on Space.com.