A black hole at the center of a distant galaxy is behaving like no other black hole astronomers have ever seen.
Every 9 hours, the black hole at the center of galaxy GSN 069, about 250 million light-years away, sends a bright stream of X-rays toward Earth. It’s an active black hole, so it’s always gobbling up matter; in the process, that matter heats up and emits some light as it falls toward the event horizon around the singularity, the point beyond which no light or matter can escape. But in 2018, researchers who were using the European Space Agency’s (ESA) XMM-Newton telescope realized that, at every peak of that 9-hour cycle, the GSN 069 black hole would get about 100 times brighter on the X-ray spectrum.
“It was completely unexpected,” Giovanni Miniutti, an astronomer at Spain’s Center of Astrobiology and lead author of a new paper on the black hole, said in a statement from ESA. “Giant black holes regularly flicker like a candle, but the rapid, repeating changes seen in GSN 069 from December onwards are something completely new.”
Read more HERE