Black holes have always been a mystery. Even though they are often perceived as a literal void in space, these celestial entities are constantly being studied and investigated, and later discovered that they are anything. Black holes comprise a vast amount of matter, being compressed into an extremely tight space. The surge of energy exerted results in a formation of a strong gravitational pull that captures anything within its reach, even light.
Einstein’s theory of relativity supports the claim that black holes are derived from the remains of a dying star. The core that a dead star leaves in its wake is acted on by gravity and other universal forces, forming a black hole.
Many milestones have been achieved in black hole studies ever since its first discovery in 1971. 2007, the ‘sound’ of a black hole in action was recorded. Then in 2019, the first photo of an actual black hole was taken. This discovery made headlines all over the world and became a global phenomenon.
Over a decade ago, in 2007, a black hole’s heartbeat was heard from about 600 million light years from our planet, in a galaxy named RE J1034+396. NASA noticed heartbeat-like vibrations from the smallest possible black hole with the help of Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) and the Chandra X-ray Observatory. These vibrations were continuously observed and monitored, but was halted in 2011 because the sun blocked the satellites from gathering any more information.
However, in 2018, the XMM-Newton X-ray satellite of the European Space Agency was able to detect them again, and much to the scientists’ surprise, the same vibrations were still heard, considering that black hole heartbeats are not expected to last very long due to the constant forces in space that act upon it.
The sound vibrations of a black hole referred to as 'heartbeat' does not signify a form of life. Scientists prefer to name it as such because the signals resemble that of a heartbeat, detectable and repeating.
There are three identified types of black holes so far, and this particular heartbeat originates from a supermassive black hole, millions or billions of times larger than our sun. What does this imply? Since black holes are basically remnants of a dead star, black holes this size signify a much more massive galaxy that existed beforehand.
Such discoveries are vital in the development of the studies about the known universe and give us a slight idea on what lies beyond it. These celestial phenomena provide key information to determine the existence of other realms other than ours, and could change the way we perceive reality and existence.