The universe looks very different when seen with X-ray vision. Researchers are one step closer to understanding how a black hole works. The Hitomi X-ray Observatory was a satellite equipped with X-ray cameras. It left Earth on February 17, 2016, and suffered a malfunction which led to its demise one month later.
In its dying moments, however, the Hitomi satellite still broadcasted, and it left humanity with a trove of new information as a parting gift.
The Perseus cluster is considered by scientists to be one of the largest structures they have found in the known universe. The cluster is believed to be located about 250 million light-years away. It is a grouping of hundreds of galaxies bound together by a common gravitational pull. At the core of the Perseus cluster is a massive black hole.
The Hitomi X-ray Observatory pierced through the darkness and spied on the Perseus Cluster until its dying time.
One Black Hole Holds The Entire Perseus Cluster In Its Pull
Black holes look entirely different under X-ray vision. The matter that is drawn towards black holes is torn apart by the gravitational pull. The result is comprised of a high numbers of speed particles or of a very large amount of thermal energy.
The matter then proceeds deeper into the black hole where it eventually ends up increasing the mass of the black hole itself.
The thermal energy heats up the gas around the black hole resulting in bubbles of hot plasma. The bubbles of hot plasma expand and move farther away from the black hole. The temperature of hot plasma is so high that it stops stars from forming and galaxies from expanding.
Hot plasma, however, is entirely invisible to the spectrum of the human eye. It only shows up on X-ray. Until the Hitomi X-ray Observatory satellite, researchers did not fully understand why the presence of black holes appeared to halt the expansion of nearby galaxies.
The hot plasma, as it turns out, was always present on the outer rim of galaxies, coming from within the black hole and traveling through the galaxy themselves.
The Perseus cluster itself is shrouded in a titanic membrane of hot plasma. If it not for the plasma continuously coming from the black hole, all the hundreds of galaxies would have exponentially grown over time.
Image Courtesy of Wikipedia.