A long-standing but unproven assumption about the X-ray spectra of black holes in space has been contradicted by hands-on experiments performed at Sandia National Laboratories’ Z machine.
Z, the most energetic laboratory X-ray source on Earth, can duplicate the X-rays surrounding black holes that otherwise can be watched only from a great distance and then theorized about.
“Of course, emission directly from black holes cannot be observed,” said Sandia researcher and lead author Guillaume Loisel, lead author for a paper on the experimental results, published in August in Physical Review Letters. “We see emission from surrounding matter just before it is consumed by the black hole. This surrounding matter is forced into the shape of a disk, called an accretion disk.”
The results suggest revisions are needed to models previously used to interpret emissions from matter just before it is consumed by black holes, and also the related rate of growth of mass within the black holes. A black hole is a region of outer space from which no material and no radiation (that is, X-rays, visible light, and so on) can escape because the gravitational field of the black hole is so intense.
“Our research suggests it will be necessary to rework many scientific papers published over the last 20 years,” Loisel said. “Our results challenge models used to infer how fast black holes swallow matter from their companion star. We are optimistic that astrophysicists will implement whatever changes are found to be needed.” Paper. (paywall) – G. P. Loisel, J. E. Bailey, D. A. Liedahl, C. J. Fontes, T. R. Kallman, T. Nagayama, S. B. Hansen, G. A. Rochau, R. C. Mancini, R. W. Lee. Benchmark Experiment for Photoionized Plasma Emission from Accretion-Powered X-Ray Sources. Physical Review Letters, 2017; 119 (7) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.075001 More.
We know that black holes are a viable research area if no one Is writing articles for journals about how to Fix doubters of the prevailing theory. In general, the desire to persecute doubters springs from the weakness of the theory, not its strength.
See also: Researcher: Black holes pervade the universe