A new scientific paper describes an unprecedented and “mind boggling” event around a so-called black hole – an event so rapid, energetic and completely unexpected to astronomers, it challenges the very bedrock of black hole theory. A team of scientists studying an active galactic nucleus observed the brightness of a so-called black hole corona drop by a factor of 10,000 in less than one year.
A co-author of a new paper on the discovery stated, “We expect that luminosity changes this big should vary on timescales of many thousands to millions of years. But in this object, we saw it change by 10,000 over a year, and it even changed by a factor of 100 in eight hours, which is just totally unheard of and really mind-boggling.” In fact, the conundrum of cosmological entities such as galaxies, quasars and stars experiencing seemingly impossibly rapid evolutionary changes is an increasingly common conundrum. This Space News episode explores why such rapid cosmological events illuminate the electrical circuitry that pervades the cosmos.