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Long held beliefs surrounding the science and physics of black holes surmised that these geometric regions of spacetime that possess powerful gravitational pulls can suck any matter, be it particles, objects or light, into its dark abyss without hope of escape once the matter passes the event horizon. But it turns out escape from a black hole is actually possible. They’ll definitely suck you up, but sometimes they’ll spit you out as well.

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Two NASA telescopes, including the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) observed a black hole’s corona pushing out and away from the black hole in question, ejecting a large pulse of X-Ray energy. The black hole in question is named Markarian 335 and is classified as a supermassive black hole, which is the largest type of black hole with an average density less than that of water. Key to the designation of a black hole being named supermassive is that the tidal forces surrounding the event horizon are significantly weaker, which could very well explain how matter was able to emerge from Markarian 335.

“This is the first time we have been able to link the launching of the corona to a flare,” Dan Wilkins, of Saint Mary’s University, said. “This will help us understand how supermassive black holes power some of the brightest objects in the universe.” At a whopping 324 million light years away from Earth, Markarian 335 and this never before observed event could still hold answers to the size and structure of the supermassive black hole, as well as the key to the nature of all black holes.

The pulse of energy that shot out of Markarian 335 and was observed due to the massive flare it created is still shrouded in mystery. “The nature of the energetic source of X-rays we call the corona is mysterious,” said Fiona Harrison, lead investigator of NuSTAR. “But now with the ability to see dramatic changes like this, we are getting clues about its size and structure.” While scientists and astrophysicists and people with a lot more knowledge and doctorates than most of us have continue to delve into the mysteries of our universe, at least we have some pretty spectacular photos to look at while awaiting more answers. Witness the power and the awe of the supermassive black hole.

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