Einstein's theories are continuing to prove accurate. Image Credit: NASA / Alain Riazuelo
The unexpected discovery succeeds in proving Einstein's theory of general relativity right once again.
During recent observations of x-rays flaring from a supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy almost two billion light years away, scientists picked up something they hadn't expected to see - peculiar 'luminous echoes' from an unknown origin.
To add to the mystery, these echoes were smaller and arrived later than the x-ray flares.
The scientists soon realized that what they were witnessing was something very special - the first direct detection of light from behind a black hole.
Einstein had previously described how this was possible because massive objects like black holes can literally warp the fabric of the universe - curving and distorting spacetime.
"Any light that goes into that black hole doesn't come out, so we shouldn't be able to see anything that's behind the black hole," said Stanford University's Dan Wilkins.
"The reason we can see that is because that black hole is warping space, bending light and twisting magnetic fields around itself."
It seems that - once again - Einstein was right all along.