NASA shares an image of a spectacular set of rings around a black hole

Huge rings around a black hole.

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NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory have captured an image that shows huge rings around a black hole. It’s a composite that shows the ring-encircled black hole in X-rays, infrared and visible light.

The black hole in the image is a binary system called V404 Cygni. It is located 7,800 light-years away. It actively pulls material away from a companion star into a disk around the invisible object.

The rings around the black hole are believed to be generated by light echoes when a burst of X-rays from the black hole system bounced off of dust clouds between V404 Cygni and Earth. They reveal information about the dust located in our galaxy. These rings are not visible in light: Astronomers saw them in x-ray images.

The image is an excellent example of how there is a lot of structure and activity in the universe that human eyes can’t see. Not only fabulous to look at, but the image also offers information about the black hole, the companion star, and the dust clouds.