I can tell you (somewhat smugly) that I'm penning this from the safety of my bomb shelter. Admittedly, I suddenly remembered that I'd forgotten my cat, Sparkles. But I was in bit of a panic. People told me that relocating to an underground bunker for Saturday's asteroid "flyby" was a bit of an overreaction. But you can never be too cautious, right?
Luckily, the astroid did indeed fly by without hitting us but I've decided to stay put in light of the news that NASA have just seen an enormous pulse of energy coming from a black hole. And what makes this so concerning is that nothing ever comes out of black holes. Until now.
"This is the first time we have been able to link the launching of the corona to a flare," said Dan Wilkins of Saint Mary’s University. "This will help us understand how supermassive black holes power some of the brightest objects in the universe.” The large flare was seen coming out of supermassive black hole, Markarian 335. Two of NASA's X-rays saw the occurrence and it has experts scratching their heads in unison.
"The nature of the energetic source of X-rays we call the corona is mysterious," stated Fiona Harrison, the principal investigator of NuSTAR. "But now with the ability to see dramatic changes like this we are getting clues about its size and structure."
While we like to think we have a fairly good understanding of space, much of what we count as knowledge is just theory which has yet to be disproved. So it looks like some textbooks will need to be rewritten. And while this particular supermassive black hole is 324 million light-years away, I'm not taking any chances.