Space telescopes were proposed by NASA in the 1920s, but they never fully got funded until the 1970s when the Hubble Space Telescope was born. It wasn’t the first space telescope, but it became the largest and most adaptive one created.
Named after Edwin Hubble, an observatory for NASA, the Hubble Space Telescope became an important research tool when it was launched into space in 1990. It is the only telescope designed to be maintained in space by astronauts, and it is designed to explore space from light years away.
At the NGC 3147 galaxy, 130 million light years away from the Earth, the Hubble Space Telescope discovered a black hole that is different than others. There was material of a thin disc surrounding the black hole, composed of gas, dust and debris. The gas, dust and debris were being pulled into the black hole’s orbit, something that is usually found in galaxies that are more active than the NGC 3147 galaxy.
Researchers expected the black hole to look more like a donut, but because the black hole is faint, it appeared to have more of a pancake appearance. The disc is typically seen in things that have up to 100,000 more light, but instead, this one didn’t.
The discovery could pull back scientists’ knowledge of how fewer active galaxies work.
The telescope showed a disc that is located so close to the black hole’s gravitational field, that the light is bent out of shape. Due to how close the disc is to the black hole, the intensity of the gravitational pull is impacting how photons of light are being seen.
The discovery has presented scientists with an opportunity to test out theories of relativity that were first introduced by Albert Einstein. It could impact knowledge of how space, time, light and gravity all work together.
Scientists have said the discovery was completely unexpected. The gas movement created features that were unknown, mainly because of how close the thin disc was to the black hole.
The discovery was made on May 17, 2018 and scientists are planning to look into other galaxies to determine if their observation is a common event, or if it just represented something that is out of the ordinary. Black holes are impossible to see, because of galaxies that surround them. The research on the black hole and the disc was published in the “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society” by Ari Laor, Stefano Bianchi, Loredana Bassani and others. It can be found at