Black holes, what are the “ghost” rings that surround them: the mystery

The discovery thanks to the use of X-rays in NASA space observations. Black holes, mystery increasingly thick: ghost rings surround them.

Black holes represent one of the most fascinating mysteries of the universe. In addition to having inspired films and novels, among other things, they have been the focus of speculation by leading scientists, who have turned their eyes to the sky - and their deductive skills. They are, for example, Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein.

Recently, researchers have tried to weigh these enigmatic space formations, of course, by observing them from afar. At the same time, they have been able to collect information about an alleged storm of black holes capable of disrupting the galaxy.

Now comes one more piece in what represents, despite the advances in knowledge, still a puzzle difficult to solve: they have in fact been observed ghost rings around black holes.

What is it, to be precise?

What are the mysterious ghost rings that surround black holes

Specifically, these are some bright rings with a "spectral" appearance. The X-ray detections were made by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and Neil Gehrels' Swift Observatory and reveal what, with other instruments, would have been invisible.

The ghost rings would have been created by the gravity of a black hole - the black hole in question is called V404 Cygni and is about 7,800 light-years from Earth - located near a star. The first of the two bodies is pulling material away from the star and subsequently collecting it into a disk all around itself.

The rings would not have been visible under normal conditions, but a "flash," caused by the black hole, actually highlighted the energetic rings in question, which were only visible in X-ray images.

How scientists are using X-rays to decipher the galaxy's secrets

The use of X-rays by researchers to observe space certainly represents a promising field of research. The method is similar to that used in medical studies or to examine luggage to be checked in at the airport.

In other words, they use the brightness of X-rays to deduce the composition of dust clouds around black holes: it depends on the amount of emission that has been absorbed. Based on these observations, the researchers found that the dust was likely made up of graphite and silicate granules.

Giuseppe Giordano