This Is the Last Thing Japan's Lost Black Hole Satellite Saw Before It Died

Posted by K R on

Earlier this year, Japan launched a groundbreaking black-hole-monitoring satellite—only to lose control of it almost immediately under strange circumstances. Now, we finally can see what Hitomi did right before it died.

When JAXA launched Hitomi in February of this year, scientists were giddy over the possibilities of what the black hole monitoring satellite might tell us about the mysteries of the universe. It was only up there a month when something went wrong. A series of unfortunate events caused by both human errors and software flaws sent the satellite spinning out of control. Despite attempts to regain control, Hitomi continued to spin and throw debris into space. Eventually, JAXA declared that the $273 million satellite was beyond recovery. When Hitomi died, though, researchers also announced that they’d managed to scrape a little bit of data from the satellite and would be detailing it in upcoming papers. Some of that data is out today in a new paper in Nature, which shows Hitomi’s final observation. It has some fascinating implications for what we know about the role of black holes in galaxy formation. Read More: Gizmodo

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