X-Ray Echoes Off Interstellar Dust for Halo Around Black Hole #SpaceSaturday

File this under the heading of “astronomy headlines that read like poetry.” Here’s more from Astronomy Now:

Some 7,800 light years from Earth, a black hole is actively sucking in material from a companion star with about half the mass of the Sun. The material forms a disc around the black hole, glowing in X-rays as particles crash together in a swirling inferno. The binary system is known as V404 Cygni and on 5 June 2015, the Swift space telescope detected an X-ray outburst that created a spectacular ring of “light echoes” as the high-energy radiation bounced off intervening clouds of smoke-like interstellar dust. In the composite image below, observations by the Chandra X-ray Telescope (shown in blue) were combined with optical imagery from the Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawaii. Eight concentric X-ray echoes can be seen as radiation reflects off dust at different distances.

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