NASA satellite captures black hole 30,000 light-years away in amazing footage
Incredible footage of a black hole flaring 30,000 light-years away has been spotted on NASA cameras – by a group of university students.
The team were observing asteroid Bennu using NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft – developed by MIT and Harvard students – when they noticed a glowing object in the constellation Columba.
In a short GIF shared on the space agency's Twitter on February 28, a small bright object is seen lighting up.
It is actually showing a flare of X-rays from a black hole now named MAXI JO637-430.
Such X-rays are picked up when a black hole pulls in matter from a normal star in its orbit to release an enormous amount of energy.
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Madeline Lambert, an MIT graduate student who designed the instrument's command sequences, said: “Detecting this X-ray burst is a proud moment for the REXIS team.
“It means our instrument is performing as expected and to the level required of NASA science instruments.”
NASA said in a statement: “X-ray blasts, like the one emitted from the newly discovered black hole, can only be observed from space since Earth’s protective atmosphere shields our planet from X-rays.
“These X-ray emissions occur when a black hole pulls in matter from a normal star that is in orbit around it.
“As the matter spirals onto a spinning disk surrounding the black hole, an enormous amount of energy (primarily in the form of X-rays) is released in the process.”
OSIRIS-REx arrived at the 500-metre monster which is asteroid Bennu in December 2018.
It is hoped OSIRIS’ work studying Bennu will help to unlock the secrets of the solar system, with the asteroid a remnant of the formation of our galactic neighbourhood some 4.6billion years ago.
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