Black holes shoot bullets of gas into space

Double-star systems called X-ray binaries may give insight into the physics of black holes.

X-ray binaries are double-star systems where one star is in a close orbit with a black hole. As the star is pulled closer to the black hole, gas spiraling inward towards the hole can be flung back out. Scientists refer to the narrow beams of ionised gas flung back out by the star as jets.

The same process is seen in other systems in the universe such as the formation of young stars, gamma ray bursts and the feeding of black holes.

The jets in X-ray binaries form in just a few days, giving scientists a chance to understand how they develop with more ease than observing the same process occuring in black holes in the centre of galaxies.

Dr James Miller-Jones from Curtin University used observations from a NASA satellite and a radio telescope to make the discovery.

Read more at Curtin University