To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Researchers confirm eerie black hole theory that finally proves Einstein’s theory of gravity

Researchers confirm eerie black hole theory that finally proves Einstein’s theory of gravity

This astounding scientific research into black holes underlines Albert Einstein's genius.

Albert Einstein is one of the most famous names in physics, and while his E = mc2 equation has been hugely influential since he first came up with it, it's hardly his only theory.

He made many observations about how our universe works - and researchers have just proved one theory right.

They found evidence that a plunging region around black holes not only exists, but also exerts some of the strongest gravitational forces yet identified in the galaxy.

Nasa/CXC/M Weiss
Nasa/CXC/M Weiss

Einstein basically theorized that the gravitational forces around a black hole were too strong to let things orbit around them in a typical circular fashion.

Instead, he thought they'd rapidly plunge towards the object at close to the speed of light, something we'd never been able to observe before.

However, a new study from researchers at Oxford University has used X-ray data to gain a better understanding of the force generated by black holes, and managed to demonstrate that all-important plunge in action.

Dr Andrew Mummery, of Oxford University Physics, who led the study, said: "What’s really exciting is that there are many black holes in the galaxy, and we now have a powerful new technique for using them to study the strongest known gravitational fields."

After all, this X-ray technique can now be used more widely, as it's been proven to work when seeking to observe black holes in certain conditions.

Dr Mummery added: "Einstein’s theory predicted that this final plunge would exist, but this is the first time we’ve been able to demonstrate it happening. Think of it like a river turning into a waterfall - hitherto, we have been looking at the river. This is our first sight of the waterfall."


That's an impressively literary way to describe things, but he finished by being a little more straightforward: "We believe this represents an exciting new development in the study of black holes, allowing us to investigate this final area around them. Only then can we fully understand the gravitational force."

This really does look like a slam-dunk of a research publication, since it both proves a theory that has been heavily debated for years and years, and also demonstrates how its methods could help countless other studies in the coming years.

Since the Oxford team has only so far examined black holes relatively close to Earth, there's scope for way more observations and experiments on distant, larger black holes out in the expanses of space. The team intends to now move on to that sort of research, meaning there could be more interesting news to come.

Featured Image Credit: Nasa/ CXC/ M. Weiss / MPI / Stringer / Getty