Science and Nature

A new image gives a closer look at M87 black hole and its magnetic field

A new image gives a closer look at M87 black hole and its magnetic field thumbnail

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi |

Updated: March 25, 2021 11:34:04 am

A polarised image of black hole in M87 galaxy (Image: EHT collaboration)

Astronomers have used Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) to release a new and more detailed image of the M87 black hole, showcasing spiraling lines with mysterious magnetic forces close to its edges. The image showing the gigantic black hole at the center of the M87 galaxy, which is nearly 55 million light-years away. The image was obtained using polarised lights.

Astronomers believe that this will help them understand how black holes are able to launch energetic jets from their core which extend “far beyond the galaxy”.

“We are now seeing the next crucial piece of evidence to understand how magnetic fields behave around black holes, and how activity in this very compact region of space can drive powerful jets that extend far beyond the galaxy,” Monika Mościbrodzka, coordinator of the EHT Polarimetry Working Group and Assistant Professor at Radboud University in the Netherlands said.

The black hole was originally captured almost two years ago in April 2019 with the help of EHT collaboration. The first image released was blurry and showed a ring of light around a dark central region. This was followed by a deep dive into the data collected in 2017 which revealed that the light around the black hole is polarised. The distinct magnetic lines in the image are a result of polarised light.

“Light becomes polarised when it goes through certain filters, like the lenses of polarised sunglasses, or when it is emitted in hot regions of space where magnetic fields are present. In the same way that polarised sunglasses help us see better by reducing reflections and glare from bright surfaces, astronomers can sharpen their view of the region around the black hole by looking at how the light originating from it is polarised. Specifically, polarisation allows astronomers to map the magnetic field lines present at the inner edge of the black hole,” the release explains.

Astronomers hope to understand how the reason why a black hole eats matter (a celestial object) that is in its orbit and also how it shoots out massive jet particles into outer space. The polarised image gives astronomers an insight into the black hole’s outside region where the matter is flown in and ejected out.

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