Israeli researchers to map black holes with Hubble Telescope

i24NEWS

2 min read
Part of the galaxy NGC 2525 with, on the left, a brilliant supernova captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, image released on October 1, 2020.
AFP PHOTO /ESA/HUBBLE AND NASA/A.RIESS AND THE SH0ES TEAMPart of the galaxy NGC 2525 with, on the left, a brilliant supernova captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, image released on October 1, 2020.

'In order to know how the galaxies were formed, we need to understand the center of them,' says Dr. Shai Kaspi

A new initiative carried out by an international team aims at using the Hubble Telescope to map out the areas around black holes to understand how they help create the structure of our universe. 

This team includes researchers from Haifa University and Tel Aviv University.

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Dr. Shai Kaspi, a researcher at the astrophysics department of Tel Aviv University, sat down with i24NEWS to discuss why it's essential to understand black holes.

"We are studying what is called a supermassive black hole. Each of the galaxies that we have in the universe has in the center a supermassive black hole," Kaspi said.  

"In order to know how the galaxies were formed, we need to understand the center of them." 

You can't see inside a black hole, as light can't escape from it, so the team is studying the material surrounding it, such as accretion disks (a disk-like flow around any astronomical object), to understand the interstellar bodies further. 

By studying the light that forms from the accretion disks, Kaspi says, you can learn a lot about the black hole, such as the size and mass.

"One thing we still don't know is what formed first: the galaxy or the black hole in the center of it." 

Kaspi's personal view is that they were formed at the same time.