At 130 million light-years, in the center of galaxy NGC 3147, hides a particularly strange supermassive black hole.
The black hole, recently discovered by astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope, contains a much larger disc of material than the scientists expected, given the scarcity of the galaxy, according to a press release. European Space Agency. Because the disc orbits so close to the black hole and the rest of the galaxy is so dark, astronomers believe they have directly observed Einstein's theories of general and special relativity in action.
Too close for comfort
The disc, which rotates at a tenth of the speed of light, orbits so close to the supermassive black hole that its gravity changes the way the light moves away from it. When the light is struggling to escape, its length of wave lengthens, making the disc more red.
"It's an intriguing look at a record very close to a black hole, so narrow that the velocities and intensity of the gravitational force affect the way we see the photons of light," Stefano said. Bianchi, astronomer of the Roma Roma Universe press release.
READ MORE: HUBBLE DISCOVER MYSTERIOUS BLACK HOLE DISK [HEIC1913] [ESA newsroom]
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