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Before matter is gobbled up by a hungry black hole.
Scientists were surprised a few years ago when the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory discovered bursts of gamma rays weren't only coming from deep space - some are coming from the Earth too. Further observations from NASA's RHESSI satellite has shown that approximately 50 Terrestrial gamma-ray flashes (TGFs) emanate from our planet every day, blasting out gamma rays for about a millisecond. What causes these TGFs is still unknown, but scientists believe they're caused by the build-up of electrical charge at the tops of thunderclouds.
Just before matter is gobbled up by a hungry black hole, it's hurtling around the monster at nearly the speed of light. This heats up the material and it can release a tremendous amount of energy as X-rays. Different elements release energy with a specific fingerprint that Astronomers can detect. Researchers from Europe have measured iron as it hurtles around black holes and found a relativistic effect because it's moving so quickly. The team averaged out the X-ray light from 100 distant black holes to show the telltale signature of material about to be consumed by a black hole.
Astronomers believe that a significant amount of our universe is made up of mysterious Dark matter (5 times more, in fact); it's invisible to every instrument, but can be detected because its gravity affects visible matter. Dark matter is usually found surrounding Galaxies in an enormous halo, but British Astronomers think they've found a whole Galaxy just made of dark matter. The team used a radio telescope to observe the motion of a cloud of Hydrogen atoms, and realized that it was spinning much too quickly, so must be largely composed Dark matter to hold together.
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