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Two black holes are defying the limits of science

They're chewing up companion stars faster than physics would normally allow.
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FAECIASP/NASA/Conicet of Argentina/Getty Images

Even astrophysicists are occasionally surprised at what they find in the cosmos. University of Cambridge researchers have discovered that two black holes are consuming their companion stars at rates much faster than currently established limits would allow -- so fast, in fact, that the gas is ejecting at a quarter of the speed of light. To top things off, this is the first time that scientists have seen winds flowing away from ultra-luminous (and currently mysterious) X-ray sources.

So, what's behind the behavior around these black holes? The team doesn't have any firm answers, but it notes that what we see might be the result of less-than-straightforward phenomena. Those X-ray sources might be fed through discs inflated by intense pressures from the material going through it, making them look brighter than they really are. While physicists aren't rewriting textbooks just yet, it's evident that humanity has some big riddles to solve before it can truly understand space.

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