The first evidence for PLUNGING REGIONS around black holes (Einstein was right!) ft. Dr Andy Mummery

From Dr. Becky.

If you’re struggling, consider therapy with BetterHelp #ad. Click for a 10% discount on your first month of therapy with a credentialed professional specific to your needs. | In this video we’re chatting about the new research paper claiming to have observed the "plunging regions" inside the innermost stable circular orbit around a black hole. Using an X-ray spectrum of the black hole MAXI J1820+070 Mummery and collaborators were able to prove that the region around a black hole existed as Einstein predicted in his theory of General Relativity. Even more exciting still, is that this could be a new method for measuring the spin of a black hole!

Mummery et al. (2024; first evidence for plunging reasons around black holes – Einstein was right!) –
Reynolds (2021; review on how we measure black hole spin observationally) –

00:00 – Introduction
03:40 – What is the innermost stable circular orbit (ISCO) around a black hole?
06:41 – How does the ISCO relate to the black hole’s spin?
10:04 – How Mummery and collaborators studied the "plunging region" inside the ISCO using X-ray observations of MAXI J1820+070
14:40 – What this study tells us about black hole spin
16:27 – Interview with Dr. Andy Mummery
20:27 – Bloopers

Video filmed on a Sony ⍺7 IV

📚 My new book, "A Brief History of Black Holes", out NOW in hardback, paperback, e-book and audiobook (which I narrated myself!):

👕 My new merch, including JWST designs, are available here (with worldwide shipping!):

🎧 Royal Astronomical Society Podcast that I co-host:

🔔 Don’t forget to subscribe and click the little bell icon to be notified when I post a new video!

👩🏽‍💻 I’m Dr. Becky Smethurst, an astrophysicist at the University of Oxford (Christ Church). I love making videos about science with an unnatural level of enthusiasm. I like to focus on how we know things, not just what we know. And especially, the things we still don’t know. If you’ve ever wondered about something in space and couldn’t find an answer online – you can ask me! My day job is to do research into how supermassive black holes can affect the galaxies that they live in. In particular, I look at whether the energy output from the disk of material orbiting around a growing supermassive black hole can stop a galaxy from forming stars.