It was Bret Easton Ellis who coined the phrase, “The better you look, the more you see,” and it appears the folks down at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab agree. In what’s considered a “first,” the agency’s latest space-scouring probe, the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, has turned on its X-ray vision to capture focused images of a black hole, dubbed Cygnus X-1, feeding on a nearby giant star. By tuning into these high-energy frequencies, scientists are getting a peak into a previously unseen side of the heavens at 100 times the sensitivity and 10 times the resolution of any preceding tech. The space agency plans to use the observatory’s powerful sight to suss out other known areas of mass X-ray activity like 3C273, an active quasar located two billion light years away and even explore G21.5-0.9, the fallout from a supernova within the Milky Way galaxy. NuSTAR’s first tour of galactic duty will span two year’s time, during which it’ll attempt to record imagery from “the most energetic objects in the universe, ” as well as track the existence of black holes throughout the cosmos. Impressed? Yeah, us too.
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