Astrophysicists have successfully observed light coming from behind a black hole. this observation is the first of its kind and proves Albert Einstein’s theory that huge objects can warp space since no light can pass through a black hole and come out the other side.
Stanford University astrophysicist Dan Wilkins noticed a series of bright flares of X-rays, which by themselves are exciting but not unprecedented. But his telescope then recorded something unexpected: additional flashes of X-rays that were smaller and in different “colors” than the bright flares.
These secondary light “echoes” were consistent with X-rays that would be reflected behind the black hole, but as Stanford’s Taylor Kubota explains, even a rudimentary understanding of how black holes work tells the average observer that seeing light behind the massive gravitational objects should not happen.
This discovery, which was published in a paper on Nature on July 28, is the first direct observation of light that is coming behind a black hole. To this point, the possibility was theorized by Albert Einstein but never proven. According to Einstein’s theories of general relativity, massive objects — such as black holes — will warp the fabric of space-time and curve paths, rather than linear ones, that objects travel.