Around a Black Hole Yields Tantalizing Evidence of an Event Horizon
The Hubble telescope may have, for the first time, provided direct
the existence of black holes by observing how matter disappears when
beyond the "event horizon," the boundary between a black hole and
universe. Astronomers found their evidence by watching the fading
of pulses of ultraviolet light from clumps of hot gas swirling
around a massive,
compact object called Cygnus XR-1. This activity suggests that the
hot gas fell
into a black hole.
A Cosmic Searchlight
Streaming out from the center of the galaxy M87 like a cosmic
searchlight is one of nature's most amazing phenomena, a
black-hole-powered jet of electrons and other sub-atomic particles
traveling at nearly the speed
of light. In this Hubble telescope
image, the blue jet contrasts with the yellow glow from the combined
light of billions of unseen stars and the yellow, point-like
clusters of stars that make up this galaxy. Lying at the center of
M87, the monstrous black hole has swallowed up matter equal to 2
billion times our Sun's mass. M87 is 50 million
light-years from Earth.
Hubble Discovers Black Holes in
Medium-size black holes actually do exist, according to the latest
findings from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, but scientists had to
look in some unexpected places to find them.
The previously undiscovered black holes provide an important link
that sheds light on the way black holes grow. Even more odd, these
new black holes were found in the cores of glittering, "beehive"
swarms of stars - called globular star clusters - that orbit our
Milky Way and other galaxies.
The new findings promise a better understanding of how galaxies and
globular clusters first formed billions of years ago.