For the first time, scientists have accidentally measured the swirling ring around a black hole

This would seem to be an artistic interpretation of a black hole’s accretion disk. (Image credit: Getty Images)

For the first time ever, scientists have been able to measure the exact size of the disk of matter orbiting a supermassive black hole. This serendipitous discovery could help expand our knowledge of how these cosmic forces grow and how the galaxies around them evolve over time.

Accretion disks are huge, swirling rings of superheated gas, dust, and plasma that swirl around them black holes Or other massive cosmic bodies, such as pulsars. The disks surrounding black holes consist of the shredded remnants of stars, exoplanets, and other material that has been torn apart as it is being pulled toward the event horizon, the point beyond which nothing, not even light, can escape the black hole’s gravity. When the accretion discs rotate, they emit a group of Electromagnetic radiation Including X-rays, infrared, radio waves, and visible light, making it the only part of a black hole that astronomers can detect.

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