A team of mixed researchers responsible for a mission focused on a Near-Earth asteroid has made an exciting discovery. With the help of the Regolith, X-Ray Imaging Spectrometer mounted on the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft; the scientists observed a blooming black hole located in the Columba constellation, at a distance of 30,000 light-years away from Earth.
REXIS is a small instrument that studies the X-rays generated by asteroid Bennu due to exposure to intense solar radiation. While X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation in the vein of natural light, they are considerably more powerful.
In November 2019, during a series of observations, the researchers spotted unusual radiation that appeared to come from a distant place. There were no objects that had been found in the specific area in the past, which was quite puzzling for the team.
OSIRIS-REx snapped a new black hole
Further research revealed that the object was, in fact, a new flaring black hole. It was also spotted earlier by the Japanese MAXI telescope and received the name MAXI J0637-430. Another detection was made by the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (also known as NICER) a few days later. MAXI and NICER can be found aboard the International Space Station and are used to scan X-ray phenomena which take place in the low orbit.
X-ray pulses have to be observed from space since the protective shield that can be found around our planet will block the radiation from reaching the surface. Such X-rays are released when a black hole will attract material that can be found around a regular star that is near it.
When the matter reaches the accretion disk around a black hole, a significant amount of energy will be released. The main scope of REXIS is to teach a new generation of astronomers how to develop and use this type of hardware. More data could be shared in the future.