A spectacular new image showing the erupting flare from a black hole has been captured by NASA and it may glean fresh clues to the mystery of how a black hole's jets are formed.
The space agency said that the image was captured by its two Explorer missions, Swift and NuSTAR (the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array).
What is shown here is an artist's conception.
The telescopes allowed the researchers to see a sudden shift in the corona of Markarian 335, a black hole located 324 million light-years away near the constellation of Pegasus.
The discovery "will help us understand how supermassive black holes power some of the brightest objects in the universe," Dan Wilkins, NASA scientist said in a press release. "The corona gathered inward at first and then launched upwards like a jet."
"We still don't know how jets in black holes form, but it's an exciting possibility that this black hole's corona was beginning to form the base of a jet before it collapsed."
The black hole's corona is said to be a pattern of high-energy particles emitting powerful X-rays but researchers remain puzzled as to the exact origin of the corona and how its accompanying ray configuration is organized.
A research paper that was published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society seems to support the theory that the black hole's corona is shaped like a lamppost, with its light bulb-like concentrated energy above and below the black hole on which the corona spins.