Astronomers have discovered a strong magnetic field swirling around the edge of the Milky Way’s central black hole

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) has released the first image of our supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A*, in polarized light

Astronomers have discovered a strong magnetic field swirling around the edge of the Milky Way’s central black hole

Astronomers discover a powerful magnetic field wrapped around the edge of the Milky Way’s central black hole New images from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration involving scientists from the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard University and the Smithsonian Institution (CfA) spiraling from the edge of the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A* (Sgr A)

We discovered a strong and organized magnetic field that spreads out in the shape of The first polarized light observation of the monster at the center of the Milky Way reveals a magnetic field structure that is strikingly similar to that of the black hole at the center of the M87 galaxy, suggesting the presence of a strong magnetic field. It has been suggested. Common to all black holes. This similarity also suggests that there is a hidden jet in Sgr A. The results were published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. Scientists will release the first images of Sgr A*, located about 27,000 light-years from Earth, in 2022, showing that the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole is more than 1,000 times smaller and has less mass than M87. However, he made it clear that nothing has changed. They are surprisingly similar.

This led scientists to wonder if the two had something in common beyond their physical appearance. To find out, the team decided to study Sgr A* in its polarized state. Previous studies of the light around M87* found that the magnetic field around the supermassive black hole sends powerful jets of matter back into the surrounding region. Based on this research, new images showed that the same may be true for her Sgr A.

“What we’re seeing now is that there is a strong, twisted, organized magnetic field near the black hole at the center of the Milky Way,” said Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) CfA NASA Hubble Fellowship said Sarah Isaun, Program Einstein Fellow. ) Astrophysicist and co-leader of the project. “In addition to the fact that Sgr A has a polarization structure that is strikingly similar to that of the much larger and more powerful black hole M87, there are also questions about how black holes interact with surrounding gas and matter. , we found that strong, well-ordered magnetic fields are important.Talk to them.” Light is a vibrating or moving electromagnetic wave that allows us to see objects. Light can vibrate in a specific direction, and this is called “polarization.” Polarized light is all around us, but to the human eye it is indistinguishable from “normal” light. In the plasma around these black holes, particles swirling around magnetic field lines create polarization patterns perpendicular to the magnetic field. This allows astronomers to see in more detail what’s happening in the black hole region and map its magnetic field lines. “By imaging polarized light from hot, glowing gas near a black hole, we can directly infer the structure and strength of the magnetic fields that permeate the streams of gas and matter that the black hole feeds and expels,” says Harvard University. said a Black Hole Initiative researcher. Angelo Ricarte, co-leader of the project. “Polarized light can tell us much more about astrophysics, the properties of the gas, and the mechanisms that occur when black holes feed.” But imaging black holes under polarized light is not as easy as wearing polarized sunglasses. This is especially true for Sgr A. Sgr A* changes so rapidly that it is impossible to stand still and capture images. Imaging supermassive black holes requires advanced tools beyond those previously used to capture his M87*, a more stable target. Paul Tiede, a CfA postdoctoral fellow and his SAO astrophysicist, said: The first image required months of intensive analysis to understand its dynamic nature and reveal its average structure. ” “Creating polarized images increases the challenge to the dynamics of the magnetic field around a black hole. Our models often predict highly turbulent magnetic fields, making it extremely difficult to create polarized images. It was difficult.” Fortunately, our black hole is much quieter, making the first image possible. ” Scientists are excited about the images of both supermassive black holes in polarized light because these images and associated data provide a new way to compare and contrast black holes of different sizes and masses. As technology advances, images may reveal more secrets about black holes and their similarities and differences.

“M87* and Sgr A* differ in several important ways: M87* is much larger and attracts more material from its surroundings,” said Michi Baubeck, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. ” states. The magnetic field is also expected to look very different. But in this case, they turned out to be very similar, which could mean this structure is common to all black holes. ” “A deeper understanding of the magnetic fields near black holes can help answer several unanswered questions, from how jets form and launch to the strength of bright flares seen in infrared and X-ray light. Masu.” EHT has conducted several observations since 2017 and is scheduled to observe Sgr A* again in April 2024. Images are improving every year as the EHT incorporates new telescopes, wider bandwidths, and new observing frequencies. Expansion planned over the next decade will enable high-resolution video of Sgr A*, reveal hidden jets, and allow astronomers to observe similar polarization signatures in other black holes. Maybe. On the other hand, extending the EHT into space will provide clearer images of black holes than ever before. CfA is leading several major initiatives to significantly improve his EHT over the next decade. The Next Generation EHT (ngEHT) project is implementing innovative upgrades to the EHT, with the aim of bringing multiple new radio receiving antennas online, enabling simultaneous multicolor viewing, and increasing the overall sensitivity of the array. I am. The extension of ngEHT will enable the array to create real-time movies of supermassive black holes at the event horizon scale. These films focus on the “high-field” gravitational features predicted by general relativity and the interactions between accretion and relativistic jet launches that form the large-scale structure of the universe and the event horizon. Unravel the detailed structure and dynamics of the vicinity. Meanwhile, the Black Hole Explorer (BHEX) mission concept will extend the EHT into space and produce the clearest images in astronomy history. BHEX enables the detection and imaging of “photon rings” – sharp ring features formed by intense lensing radiation around a black hole. The properties of black holes are imprinted in the size and shape of their photon rings, revealing the masses and rotations of dozens of black holes, and how these strange objects grow and interact with their host galaxies.