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A decades-long enigma about black holes has finally been answered.

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For decades, scientists have attempted to explain the various mysteries of black holes. One such conundrum that astronomers have been puzzling over is how we can see the universe surrounding the borders of black holes. Other mysteries include black holes spawning new stars.

When looking at a black hole, a Danish student named Albert Sneppen claims that there are an endless number of paths light can take to reach an observer. You may see the galaxies behind the black hole through these trajectories. One of the most perplexing aspects about black holes has been how close you need to be to see from one image to the next. Sneppen has now developed a new mathematical equation that may help to understand it.

We've known for a long time that when looking at a black hole, you need to be 500 times closer to view each new image. The real puzzle, though, has been why that is the magical number. Sneppen believes he has identified the answer thanks to research published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Of course, the primary explanation is quite mathematical. And, to be fully honest, it's a little beyond my comprehension. According to Sneppen's paper, photons orbiting above a specific radial coordinate circle the black hole outwards to infinity. However, if those photons are close enough to other photons, they will orbit before getting sucked in. This is how we can see images of the galaxy behind the black hole.

What is truly significant about this revelation, though, is the possibilities it may open for fresh understanding.

"There's something absolutely beautiful about finally understanding why the visuals repeat themselves in such an immaculate manner." Furthermore, it opens up new avenues for testing our understanding of gravity and black holes," Sneppen said in a statement.

Gravity directly influences how photons flow towards a black hole. We can now use how they interact to gain a better understanding of how the system operates as a whole. Furthermore, Sneppen claims that spinning black holes eliminate the need to move as close to the black hole as possible. So, instead of having to move closer by a factor of 500 to view various images, we just need to move closer by a factor of 50.

In the future, this could make it easier to inspect and observe black holes.