NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center recently posted a nifty video showing a simulated view of how the X-ray emission in a nearby galaxy with an active central supermassive black hole doesn't come from the exact position of the hole, but rather from a point above its accretion disc; an *echo* of these X-rays then bounces to us off of the hole's accretion disc:
It sounds like they don't know exactly why the X-rays are being emitted from that other point, but then we still don't really understand how the intense, jet-forming magnetic fields around massive and rapidly spinning objects in space really work anyway--but maybe this will give smart people some clues!
The finding was made from data captured by the ESA ("European Space Agency") X-ray-detecting satellite observatory XMM-Newton, launched in 1999. The galaxy being examined, NGC 4151, at just 43 million light years away, is one of the closest galaxies to us that has an actively feeding supermassive black hole, which makes it a good galaxy to look at if you want to learn about how they work! It's been nicknamed the "Eye of Sauron" for reasons that this composite Chandra image (blue = X-rays, yellow = optical, red = radio) may make clear:
image by X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/J.Wang et al.; Optical: Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes, La Palma/Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope, Radio: NSF/NRAO/VLA (source)
My June art show opens tomorrow (okay, today--Friday!) in Seattle's Phinney neighborhood, 6-9 pm! I got a glimpse in while driving by today and it looked like they had a full wall of my artwork--there are hm something like 17 original A* ink paintings, and another ten or so framed prints of art from A* as well as a few from my other (now discontinued) comics, The Princess and the Giant and Sketchy. They will have refreshments and maybe even a DJ! :o But if you want some free eats you'd better come early, otherwise I'm liable to eat them all. :d