Astronomers have spotted wobbly jets of particles shooting out from a black hole, and they believe that this strange motion could be happening because the black hole’s strong gravitational pull is dragging space around it. Named V404 Cygni, this black hole is nine times more massive than the sun and located almost 8,000 light-years from Earth, said a National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) press release.
The rapid wobble, also known as precession, has not been spotted before in other similar systems. Explaining this mysterious occurrence requires using an effect of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity. According to the theory, massive objects, such as black holes, distort space and time, and when they spin, their gravitational influence pulls space and time around with it, also known as frame-dragging.
Particularly in V404 Cygni, the black hole’s spin axis is misaligned from the plane of its orbit with its starry companion, which causes the frame-dragging effect to “warp” the inner area of the disk and then pull the warped portion around with it. The jets originate from either the black hole or the inner disk, causing a change in jet orientation and producing the “wobbling” effect similar to a spinning top toy.