Out of all the beautiful, awe-inspiring things that can kill humans is outer space, supermassive black holes are some of the worse. We wouldn’t even know what to expect if we were to be sucked in by one as researchers have not yet managed to successfully look inside them.
But a new study conducted by British astronomers now suggests that the universe may be hiding millions of theses supermassive black holes. Aided by NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) satellite observatory, researchers from Durham University (United Kingdom) were able to find five (5) new supermassive black holes which emitted high-energy x-rays.
The space objects weren’t recently formed, but they went unnoticed simply because they were well hidden by clouds of gas and dust. The discovery has led the experts to believe that millions more of them may be hidden by similar clouds.
The theory is backed by the fact that the newly discovered supermassive black holes are some of the biggest uncovered so far, and if they were so easily camouflaged, smaller ones should be even easier to hide.
George Lansbury, post-graduate student from Durham University gave a statement saying that the scientific community has known of supermassive black holes that weren’t hidden by clouds of gas and dust for a very long time, and that they’ve also suspected a great deal of them were hidden from sight.
He went on to add that they’ve now finally been able to clearly see a few of these hidden monsters thanks to NuSTAR and its high-energy x-rays, which can go much deeper into various space objects than low-energy x-rays.
However, their “buried” state turned out to be much more elusive than expected, and while space scientists have only detected five (5) hidden supermassive black holes, when they extrapolated their results to cover the entire universe, they found that the numbers are not only huge but that they also confirm what the experts would normally expect to see.
One of the main purposes for which NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array was designed was to use to understand the behavior of active galaxies that are currently hosting supermassive black holes.
The technology orbits our planet on a satellite and can pick up on the energy levels of dead stars and supermassive black holes that are sitting at light years away from the Earth and could not be seen otherwise.
NASA astronomers plan to use it to take a better look at the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way, as well as to explore deep space and observe extragalactic skies, all while mapping some of the recently-synthesized remains belonging to young supernovas in an attempt to learn how exactly a star explodes.
The findings were presented earlier this week, on Monday (July 6, 2015), at the national astronomy meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society, in Llandudno (Wales).
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