Black holes, their gravitational pull is so intense that not even light can escape from them.
As gas, dust and stars are sucked in, the material accelerates and heats up generating powerful X-Ray light emissions.
And now NASA is going to launch a black hole hunter, a new telescope called “NuSTAR”. Paul Hertz is the Director of NASA’s Astrophysics Division:
“Stars, nebulae in black holes emit X-Rays of the type that we use in medical X-Rays. And these can not be detected from the surface of the earth. But the “NuSTAR” telescope will focus these X-Rays onto its digital camera and send the pictures back to earth for scientific analysis.”
Scientists expect to start getting science data about a month after “NuSTAR”’s launch. It will be studied by people around the world, including “NuSTAR” Principal Investigator Fiona Harrison:
“NuSTAR will open a whole new window on the universe by being the very first telescope to focus high energy X-Rays. As such it will make images that are ten times crisper and 100 times more sensitive than any telescope that is operated in this region of spectrum.”
This image shows the glow of hundreds of massive black holes in the universe. NASA says it’s the best that current telescopes can provide.
But this simulation shows what NASA expects NuSTAR will see when it surveys the extra galactic sky.
About a week after NuSTAR launches, its 10 meter mast will deploy, separating the mirrors from the detectors. That provides the distance required to focus the X-Ray light into sharp images.
The telescope will be able to find black holes hidden behind screens of dust and gas. It will also be able to tell how quickly a black hole is spinning which will help scientists learn how black holes were formed.
Again NASA’s Paul Hertz:
“Like all of our NASA missions, we’re going to find unexpected things out there that will lead us to questions and answers that we aren’t even anticipating at this time.”
NASA scientists say one of NuSTAR’s goals is to take a census of collapse stars and black holes in the universe.