NASA Finds That Black Holes Are Apparently Surrounded by Cloudy, Clumpy Space Doughnuts

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NASA’s been busy lately, what with the gearing up for Mars exploration and such. But they’ve all also still had time to discover brand new things about the brave new frontier that is the entire universe, and guess what they’ve found this time? That’s right. Clumpy space doughnuts. Oh, yeah.

That’s what they officially called the clouds of dust and gas that surround black holes. Up until recently, it was incredibly difficult to see into those “doughnuts,” but that’s all changed now with NASA’s new Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR. When used in tandem with the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton space observatory, scientists were finally able to get a new look at these cosmic doughnuts.

Turns out, they’re not perfectly rounded like your typical glazed or cake-y doughnuts. No, they’re actually clumpy and lumpy, kind of like an old fashioned doughnut or even an apple fritter with a hole in it.

Scientists are trying to better understand why it’s easier to peer into some supermassive black holes than others. Learning about this is an important step towards understanding how black holes grow and evolve, and what kinds of effects this growth has on the galaxies in which they exist.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I really want a freaking doughnut. Black hole old fashioned, please. Thanks.

(via NASA JPL News)

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Jessica Lachenal
Jessica Lachenal is a writer who doesn’t talk about herself a lot, so she isn’t quite sure how biographical info panels should work. But here we go anyway. She's the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, a Contributing Writer for The Bold Italic (, and a Staff Writer for Spinning Platters ( She's also been featured in Model View Culture and Frontiers LA magazine, and on Autostraddle. She hopes this has been as awkward for you as it has been for her.