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Dramatic Changes Around Black Hole

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Text, News From The Universe. July 29, 2020.
 
Dramatic Changes Around Black Hole.
 
At first astronomers thought there was an error when they observed dramatic, rapid changes in X-rays around a black hole.
 
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Observations spanned 450 days and several missions, including NASA's NICER, Swift, and Nu-STAR telescopes.
 
After a burst of visible light, X-rays were no longer detected from the black hole's corona, the ultra-hot gas that collects around an active black hole.

Astronomers suspect a star was torn apart by the black hole's tidal forces, and the debris disrupted the magnetic field powering the corona.
 
Then the X-rays from the corona came back brighter than before, while X-rays from the accretion disk of gas showed dramatic brightness changes in just hours.
 
An artist's rendering shows the corona shooting out from the black hole, while the corona surrounds it.
 
Text, Typically, such extreme changes in X-ray brightness take much longer.
 
The unexpected results show there is much to learn about black holes, and the wealth of data collected may have more secrets to reveal to astronomers.
 
This news was brought to you in part by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA