Something is moving: Scientists compare two photos of a black hole and notice a strange object

Credit: Astronomie / EHT Colloboration

We are talking about the very black hole that became famous as the first hole photographed. A year after receiving the historic image, scientists decided to take another look at it. This black hole has a diameter comparable to the orbit of Pluto, meaning that most of it falls within the space of our solar system. But this space contains 6 billion suns, rather than the mass of a sun interspersed with a small number of planets. This is not a typo. These are exactly the same mass estimates given in recently published scientific papers. For example, there is a huge black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy, whose size is comparable to the orbit of Mercury and has the mass of 4 million suns. But even that is difficult to imagine. This solar system-sized monster is also located 53.5 million light-years away at the center of her M 87 in the constellation Virgo, which is also larger and larger than our galaxy. She is completely different. Ours is a spiral and this is an oval. According to current scientists, they are formed by the merger of several galaxies. Interestingly, new star formation quickly stops there. For the past 10 billion years, the only stars that could have existed there until today were red dwarfs, white dwarfs, pulsars, and stellar-mass black holes. In a famous photo from 2017, M87 is visible because it is surrounded by a halo of material that is attracted and gradually absorbed. This is called an accretion disk. Rough estimates suggest that the entire mass of the Sun falls from there into this black hole every 10 years. Matter is broken down into elementary particles that move at a speed of about 1,000 kilometers per second. The physics of the accretion process is that powerful jets of the same attracted matter, so-called relativistic jets, shoot out from the black hole’s poles, perpendicular to the plane of the disk. And his one of these jets from the center of M 87 is pointing in our direction. .

Astronomers compared the famous first photo of M 87’s center with one taken a year later. There are clearly noticeable differences. The brightest region was moved 30 degrees counterclockwise. As scientists discovered, the disk rotates in this direction. According to their explanation, the brightest regions are where matter is flowing toward us, and the darkest regions are where matter is moving away from us. In fact, when an object that emits light moves towards us, the wavelength of this light becomes shorter and the d of its light wave increases. That is redshift. Therefore, scientists determine which direction the accretion disk is rotating based on its appearance. For example, the disk around our central galactic black hole, Sagittarius A*, rotates in the opposite direction, clockwise. Scientists today are wondering what this 30 degree change in the brightest region of the M 87 disk means. Assuming that this is the displacement of the material due to the rotation of the disk, this material would have moved 1/12 of the circumference in one year, or one year. It would take 12 years for the disk to rotate around the black hole. However, the scientists wrote that according to their calculations, it should rotate much faster, so they assume that no shift occurs at all, just like rotation. Rather, the plane of the disk itself shifts slightly. They also examined images taken since 2018 and found that the appearance of the ring changes every year. in her opinion Her 2018 photo shows how the rings are most often placed. Astrophysicists are satisfied that the dimensions of the ring have not changed over the years. This confirms that their calculations are correct. It is based on Einstein’s theory of general relativity. According to their calculations, M 87’s black hole halo remains unchanged throughout human history. This means that approximately 3 million years have already passed since the appearance of the first tools.