Researchers at Harvard University have claimed that they believe black holes contain "movies" of the universe in the numerous bright rings that circle around the border of the mysterious space phenomena.
According to New Scientist, Michael Johnson, a radio astronomer working on the research, realized that black holes may contain these movies after a photograph of a black hole was captured for the first time in April of 2019. As was previously reported by The Inquisitr, the photo consisted of a black hole -- and its "ring of fire" -- in a galaxy about 55 million light-years from our own Milky Way.
Johnson claimed that he and his colleagues were inspired after seeing the groundbreaking photograph.
"After the result was published, we were all getting together and asking: what does this thing mean?" he explained.
The answer came nearly a year later. He and his fellow researchers at Harvard's Black Hole Initiative realized that what appeared to be a single ring around the center actually consisted of an infinite collection of sub-rings of bending light. As they get closer and closer to the black hole's event horizon, the rings consecutively got thinner, per The Harvard Black Hole Initiative.
In this shell, the force of gravity from the black hole is large enough to keep the rays from escaping, but not strong enough to pull them into the center. In other words, the light is trapped, simply going in circles forever.
More importantly, the rays that get trapped are a reflection of how the galaxy looked when the rays entered the ring, meaning it could show how space looked thousands, if not millions of years ago -- like a photograph.
With all the halos stacked together, it would mean the photographs are stacked together, which would create a kind of motion picture.
"As we peer into these rings, first, second, third, etc., we are looking at light from all over the visible universe; we are seeing farther and farther into the past, a movie, so to speak, of the history of the visible universe," explained Peter Galison, one of the members of the initiative.
The team has been hampered in their research by the coronavirus pandemic. They hope to capture high-resolution images of the halos soon. Unfortunately, in astronomy, this still means a time period of around 10 to 20 years.
Meanwhile, in other astronomy news, NASA's upcoming Mars mission will feature a helicopter test flight in its search for proof of life on the planet.