New image of black hole reveals a ‘fluffy’ ring

Revealed by astronomers today New images of the black hole. At the center of the galaxy M87, a softer version of the black hole’s bright ring and its powerful jet are seen together in the same image for the first time. The Event Horizon Telescope EHT first imaged the black hole in 2017; This new image is based on data collected by the VLBI Universal Millimeter Set (GMVA), which captured radio emissions at a slightly different but scientifically important wavelength. Details of the new observational data, image processing methods, and associated computer simulations are described in a new paper published in the journal Nature.

“This is the first image in which we can determine where the ring is in relation to the powerful jet escaping from the central black hole.” said co-author Kazunori Akiyama of MIT’s Haystack Observatory, which developed the imaging software used to visualize the black hole. “Now we can begin to address questions like how particles are accelerated and heated and many other mysteries about a black hole more deeply.”

Como se mencionó anteriormente, el EHT es una colección de telescopios repartidos por todo el mundo, incluidos instrumentos desde Hawái hasta Europa y desde la Antártida hasta Groenlandia. El «telescopio» se crea mediante un proceso llamado interferometría, que utiliza la luz capturada en diferentes lugares para crear una imagen con una resolución equivalente a la de un telescopio gigante (un telescopio muy grande, como si fuera tan grande como la distancia entre las ubicaciones lejanas de individuos telescopios).

Scientists working on the EHT made world headlines in 2019 when they revealed the first direct image of the back hole in the center of the galaxy M87. Two years later, EHT researchers published a new image of the same black hole, this time showing what it looked like. polarized light. The ability to measure this polarization For the first time, the signature of magnetic fields at the edge of a black hole has yielded new insights into how black holes gobble up matter and emit powerful jets from their cores. The astronomers were also able to determine the magnetic field lines. at the inner edge and study the interaction between matter flowing in and exploding out.

And earlier this month, four members of the EHT collaboration applied a new machine learning technique, called PRIMO (principal component interferometry model), to the original 2017 data, yielding that famous picture. his first transformation. PRIMO analyzed more than 30,000 simulated images of black holes accumulating gas, considering several different models of how this accumulation of matter might occur. The structural patterns were ranked by how often they appeared in the simulations, and then PRIMO blended them together to produce a new, high-resolution image of the black hole.

This new image from the GMVA collaboration takes advantage of radio emissions of different wavelengths, collected on April 14 and 15, 2018. While the EHT grid of telescopes is tuned to 1.3mm resolution, the telescopes from GMVA are tuned to 3.5mm. By comparison, an astronomer at the straw observatory Jeffrey Cruz EHT’s Description envisioned the original as “Made in FM,” while this new GMVA image “comes from AM,” adding: “Telling a story together, it’s a better story.” together”.

Because the GMVA telescopes are located along Earth’s axis from east to west, data from the Greenland Telescope to the north and Atacama Large Millimeter/Meter Array ALMA are included to the south to complete the picture. This is what allowed astronomers to capture the shadow of the black hole and better see the emission jets at the same time. Data from all of these telescopes was synchronized using interferometry and various image processing algorithms, including the sparse interferometric modeling image library developed by Akiyama, were applied to produce the final image.

The bright ring first imaged by the EHT is the result of matter orbiting the black hole. This matter heats up, and the black hole’s strong gravity bends the emitted light around itself to form a ring of light with a dark region in the center: the black hole’s shadow. But the GMVA image shows a ring that is 50 percent larger than in the original EHT image. Subsequent computer simulations suggest this is because the new image reveals more material falling toward the black hole, specifically, the superheated plasma of the surrounding accretion disk.

There was also a trail of plasma extending from the central ring, most likely part of the jet shooting off into space. While astronomers have long known that black holes like M87 can spew powerful jets of matter, the underlying physics is not fully understood, and being able to observe where the jet originates near the black hole is vital to learning more. The GMVA’s 3.5-millimeter resolution allowed astronomers to see the powerful jet emerge from the glowing ring, revealing for the first time that the jet’s base was indeed connected to that ring. “What’s exciting is that we’re still seeing the shadow of the black hole, but we’re also starting to see a more extended jet,” he said. akiyama said. “For plasma to emit light at this wavelength, it has to be very hot, so every particle in the plasma travels at almost the speed of light. So, the particles are accelerated to relativistic speeds. And we see that in the case of M87, that jet expands and travels through a very wide band.” Future observations will target more radio wavelengths to further develop the scientific history of M87, telling astronomers more about the black hole’s temperature profile and plasma composition, for example. DOI: Nature, 2023. 10.1038 / s41586-023-05843-w (on DOIs).,a%20central%20black%20hole3.