V404 Cygni has only been active three times before. NASA’s archives have confirmed that the black hole had similar X-ray outburts in 1938, 1956 and 1989.
According to NASA’s recent information, a dormant black hole wakes up after 26 years to swallow nearby star leaving scientists in awe. The recent discovery gives scientists the possibility to study the behavior of the massive black hole.
The European Space Agency and NASA have managed to capture images of an incredibly unusual space behavior on Thursday evening. Their systems for space investigation reported that an unidentified source began emitting X-rays and gamma rays.
At a closer look, scientists noticed that the source of the rays was the dormant black hole, V404 Cygni, which has been inactive in the past 26 years. Apparently, these pauses are specific for this space phenomenon, which only becomes active when a nearby star gets too close to its atmosphere.
Based on the data that scientists received on Thursday evening, V404 Cygni has even swallowed its orbiting star; thus, explaining the sudden outburst of gamma and X rays. These explosions usually appear in space whenever a star dies or it is consumed by another celestial body.
Researchers have spent the past hour estimating the location of the dormant black hole and figuring out some additional information in relation to its activity. They were thus, able to infer that both the black hole and the orbiting star are located in out Milky Way galaxy, at approximately 8,000 light years away from the Earth.
The first signs of activity were spotted on June 15 in the surrounding area of the Cygnus constellation. NASA and ESA have used all their gamma-ray-based systems of investigations starting on June 18 in order to get more data about the black hole.
V404 Cygni is currently one of the biggest sources of light in space due to the flashes of rays that it is emitting. Normally, Crab Nebula it is the brightest object in the sky, but the recently awoken black hole has managed to outshine it.
The first official accounts on the black hole were registered in 1989 when the space object was last active. Back then, scientists first detected the orbiting star and concluded that it is half the size of the Sun.
By studying its revolving movements around the unidentified object, NASA experts eventually concluded that the object is a massive black hole, whose size could be twice the diameter of the Sun.
Archived documents suggest that the black hole was also active in 1938 and 1956. Given the rare outbursts of the object, scientists will spend the following period investigating its activity.
Image source: www.nasa.gov