Two years after the black hole’s first direct image was unveiled, the collaboration behind this historical snapshot has released an updated version of it, which reveals the polarization of light around the object.
“Polarization is a powerful tool for examining physical conditions in one of the most extreme environments in the universe”
Black holes are difficult to distinguish, since light itself cannot survive its extreme gravitational pull. But at least there is a way to differentiate their silhouette, thanks to the intense atmosphere that these objects create around them. When black holes attract a large amount of dust and gas, this material heats up and leaves a spherical shadow in the center called an accretion disk.
This is exactly what binoculars support Event Horizon (EHT) Captured in April 2019, now showing a supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy with an iconic image M87Is located in a cluster of VirginAbout 55 million light years away.
For these new works published inAstrophysical Journal LettersThe scientists performed a data tracking analysis to measure the polarization of light through the cosmic demon ring. When the light passes through the magnetic fields around a black hole, it becomes polarized, measuring subsequent orientation makes it easier for us to understand what is happening in this cryptic environment.
« Polarization is a powerful tool for examining physical conditions in one of the most extreme environments in the universe. “, Please explain Colin Lonsdale, Chairman of the telescope board event horizon. « This can provide clues not only to the strength and orientation of magnetic fields, but also to how these fields are ordered, and perhaps also to something about an otherwise invisible substance that lies between us and the material And the origin of radio waves.. »
Some better understand the creation of powerful plasma jets emitted by supermassive black holes
In particular, the team tried to find out more about the powerful jets of matter that some of these supermassive black holes emit, a strange phenomenon for such intense objects, rather than rejecting them logically. Should be sucked in huge amounts from. By observing the polarization of light near the event horizon, then moving models to meet the best fit, scientists found that a strongly magnetized gas could explain these jets.
« New polarization images show that the powerful jet is formed by the flow of plasma aligned by magnetic fields near the black hole, opposing its strong gravitational pull. », Conclusion Kotaro Moriyama, Co-author of the study.