The way in which black holes suck in matter from neighbouring stars is a fundamentally magnetic process and not just caused by gravity. That’s the conclusion from new measurements of the X-rays emitted by the gas surrounding a nearby black hole in the Milky Way. Although predicted by theory over 30 years ago, this is the first time that this effect has been seen. The result — based on measurements from the Chandra X-ray observatory — could affect theories on how matter falls onto black holes and other compact objects.
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