The observations were made using Japan’s Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image (MAXI) instrument aboard the Kibo Japanese experiment module on the International Space Station and NASA’s Swift satellite.
Astronomers detected in late March that extremely powerful gamma rays were suddenly being emitted. X-rays were also observed and analyzed. Analysis confirmed that the rays were coming from a black hole jet in a distant galaxy so far away that it took light from the area 3.9 billion years to reach earth.
When a black hole swallows a star, it emits a jet of such particles as gas and light. The observations made by MAXI and Swift came because the jet from the black hole were emitted directly at the earth.
Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata installed MAXI on Kibo during a 2009 space shuttle mission using the recently decommissioned spacecraft’s robot arm.