NASA OSIRIS-REx students glance at newly discovered black holes, REXIS, a shoebox-sized student instrument, is designed to measure X-rays emitted by Bennu in response to incoming solar radiation.

X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation, like visible light, but with much higher energy. REXIS is a collaborative experiment conducted by students and researchers at MIT and Harvard that offer, build, and operate the tool.

The REXIS instrument made detailed scientific observations by Bennu and captured X-rays coming from points on the edge of the asteroid.

Our first check did not reveal any catalog items at this position in the room.

It turns out that the shining object is a binary x-ray double black hole that recently caught fire which was discovered just a week earlier by the Japanese MAXI telescope called MAXI J0637-430.

A few days later, the NASA NICER telescope also identified an X-ray explosion. Both MAXI and NICER operate above NASA’s International Space Station and recognize events that are almost like X-rays. NASA OSIRIS-REx students glance at newly discovered black holes.

On the other hand, REXIS discovered the same activity millions of miles from Earth when it circled Bennu, the first eruption ever found from interplanetary space.

This X-ray discovery was a proud moment for the REXIS team. This means that our instruments function as expected at the level required by NASA scientific instruments.

X-ray bursts, such as those emitted by newly discovered black holes, can only be observed from space, because the protective atmosphere on Earth protects our planet from X-rays.

This X-ray occurs when a black hole is drawn into the material by a normal star orbiting it. Because this problem lies in the rotating disk that surrounds the black hole, a large amount of energy is released (mainly in the form of X-rays).

This preview simulates X-rays from the MAXI J0637-043 black hole discovered by NASA’s REXIS spacecraft as it moves through the REXIS line of sight. This outbreak was initially intense, but gradually subsided as it subsided. This animation was created using data collected by an X-ray spectrometer while REXIS observed the space around the Bennu asteroid on November 11, 2019. NASA OSIRIS-REx students glance at newly discovered black holes.

The main objective of REXIS is to train the next generation of scientists, engineers and project managers in the development and operation of space devices.

Nearly 100 students and PhD students have worked with the REXIS team since the mission began.