New image of a black hole shows strong magnetic fields spiraling around it

New image of a black hole shows strong magnetic fields spiraling around it

Scientists have obtained a new image of the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), using polarized light. This image shows strong and organized magnetic fields spiraling around the black hole, similar to what was observed around the black hole M87* in 2019.

The discovery, made by a team of researchers at the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), indicates that powerful magnetic fields may be a common feature of all black holes. The image also hints at the presence of a hidden jet emanating from Sgr A*, similar to the powerful jet observed near M87*.

Earlier, scientists obtained the first image of Sgr A* in ordinary light, which allowed them to determine its general shape and size. However, studying the black hole in polarized light offers a deeper understanding of its surrounding magnetic fields. Light waves vibrate in a certain direction, and when they become polarized, this vibration is confined to a single plane.

By analyzing the polarization pattern in light coming from the vicinity of Sgr A*, scientists can map the structure and strength of the black hole’s magnetic force lines. These fields play a crucial role in the interaction of black holes with the surrounding gas and matter. They can contribute to the growth of black holes by directing material inward, and they can also be responsible for launching powerful jets of particles outward.

Creating a polarized image of Sgr A* was a significant challenge because this black hole is much more dynamic than M87*. M87* is a more stable object, which allows us to observe it for longer periods of time to create a clear image. Sgr A*, on the other hand, is changing rapidly, requiring more sophisticated research methods and data analysis.

Despite the difficulties, scientists are inspired by the new discoveries. The similarity between the magnetic fields of Sgr A* and M87* suggests that black holes, regardless of size and mass, may share fundamental properties. This discovery opens the door to a deeper understanding of how black holes work and their role in the Universe.

The EHT Coalition is constantly improving its technology and plans to observe Sgr A* again in April 2024. These ongoing observations, combined with improved telescopes and data analysis, promise to reveal even more secrets about black holes in the future. The ultimate goal is to capture high-precision video of Sgr A*, which could potentially reveal the hidden jet and provide a more detailed look at its dynamics. In addition, future space telescopes, such as the Black Hole Explorer (BHEX), may provide even clearer images, allowing scientists to study the properties of black holes in space in minute detail.


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