You don’t have to know a whole lot about science to know that black holes normally suck things in, not spew things out. But NASA just detected something mighty bizarre at the supermassive black hole Markarian 335.
Two of NASA’s space telescopes, including the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), amazingly observed a black hole’s corona “launched” away from the supermassive black hole. Then an enormous pulse of X-ray energy spewed out. So, what actually happened? That’s what researchers are trying to figure out now.
“This is the first time we have been able to link the launching of the corona to a flare,” Dan Wilkins, of Saint Mary’s University, said. “This will help us comprehend how supermassive black holes power some of the brightest objects in the cosmos.”
NuSTAR’s principal investigator, Fiona Harrison, noted that the nature of the energetic source is “enigmatic,” but added that the capability to in fact record the event should provide some clues about the black hole's size and structure, along with (hopefully) some fresh info on how black holes work. Fortunately for us, this black hole is still 324 million light-years away.
So, no matter what bizarre things it’s doing, it shouldn’t have any effect on our corner of the cosmos.