Scientists at Princeton University have discovered that black holes can lose energy as they rotate. This energy is transferred to the surrounding area, producing a powerful beam of radiation spanning millions of light years. The study was led by Princeton University astronomy professor Elliot Quataert and was based on a study of the black hole at the center of the M87 galaxy. The results, published in the Astrophysical Journal, confirm that the energy loss is due to the black hole’s rotation, as predicted by Einstein’s theory of relativity.
The key to the discovery was observing the magnetic field around the black hole. Depending on the direction of energy flow, they rotate in a spiral. Scientists have discovered that energy is transferred from the black hole rather than within it, which explains the formation of giant radiation jets. These jets are huge beams of radiation that emanate from the black hole’s poles and spread far beyond the galaxy. They are bright enough to block out light throughout the universe and powerful enough to influence the evolution of surrounding intergalactic space. The loss of energy in a black hole is amazing. Scientists compare this to the energy released when the Earth explodes thousands of times every second over millions of years.
Researchers believe this loss of energy is a phenomenon specific to all astrophysical black holes with magnetic fields. The next step will be the deployment of the next generation Event Horizon Telescope, which will allow more precise measurements of black hole rotation and energy flow, as well as comparisons between different black holes. Scientists stress that it has not been conclusively proven that the rotation of the black hole is the source of the energy for the giant jet, but the evidence they have gathered points in that direction. Their work opens a new perspective on black holes, showing that they are dynamic, energetic objects that have a major impact on their surroundings.