The European Space Agency’s orbiting XMM-Newton X-ray observatory has proved the existence of a ‘gravitational vortex’ around a black hole. The discovery, aided by NASA’s NuSTAR mission, solves a mystery that has eluded astronomers for more than 30 years and will allow them to map the behaviour of matter very close to black holes.
Two black holes in nearby galaxies have been observed in X-rays by ESA’s XMM-Newton space observatory devouring their companion stars at a rate exceeding classically understood limits, and in the process, kicking out matter into surrounding space at astonishing speeds of around a quarter the speed of light.
Decades of searching in the Andromeda Galaxy has finally paid off, with the discovery of an elusive breed of stellar corpse — a neutron star, by ESA’s XMM-Newton space telescope. Neutron stars are the small and extraordinarily dense remains of a once-massive star that exploded as a powerful supernova at the end of its natural life.