Inner workings of black holes finally revealed
The innermost parts of a black hole’s active jets have been revealed for the first time. The observation suggests that the energetic spouts are more dynamic than previously suspected, with enormous blasts firing off randomly over timescales as short as 11 seconds.
It is somewhat odd that black holes, which are ultra-dense balls of matter from which no light can escape, can produce energetic flares. But these jets are a byproduct of gas and dust from a companion star that the black hole is consuming. The matter falls in circles toward the black hole, like water down a drain, and forms a gigantic flat disk that accelerates particles within, causing them to discharge energy. As yet scientists have only a vague notion of how the entire process works.