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Black holes are actually ultra hot balls of fire similar to our Sun - contradicting a previous theory, according to an Indian astrophysicist.
Abhas Mitra, from Mumbai University, says NASA observations of giant X-ray flares from a black hole in October confirms his theory.
The burst of X-ray activity contradicts the previous theory that the gravitational fields of black holes are so powerful that even light cannot escape from them, he says.
Dr Mitra said that it bolsters his theory that "true" black holes do not exist, and that they are in fact hot balls of magnetised plasma.
He said that as a massive star contracts to become a black hole, the radiation trapped inside the star resists the contractions.
"Thus, instead of true black holes predicted by Einstein's theory, we proposed that massive stars end up as balls of fire.
"Gas streams pulled inward by gravity get extremely hot by friction and may radiate X-rays."
He added: "Our best example of a magnetised ball of fire is our Sun which is surrounded by a tenuous aura of plasma called Corona."
He said the burst of X-ray flares from the black hole are similar to the phenomenon of 'coronal mass ejection' seen from the Sun.
Dr Mitra said the latest observation by NASA should prompt astrophysicists to "take a closer look" at the theory.