NASA X-ray Observatory Reveals How Black Holes Swallow Stars

NASA X-ray Observatory Reveals How Black Holes Swallow Stars

NASA X-ray Observatory Reveals How Black Holes Swallow Stars

The joint NASA-Italian Space Agency Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) has looked deep into the hot gas surrounding a black hole, in observations that help us learn how black holes both gobble up and spit out matter.

IXPE launched in December 2021 to study some of the most energetic objects in the universe, including black holes, neutron stars and pulsars. It does this by observing the polarization of the X-rays emitted by these extreme objects. Polarization is the principle by which sunglasses work – they block all light except what oscillates in a specific direction. Similarly, the polarized X-rays that IPXE detects are electromagnetic waves that usually vibrate in a certain direction.





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