• Wed. May 29th, 2024

New view of the magnetic fields surrounding the black hole in the Milky Way


Mar 27, 2024

Researchers at the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) have made a groundbreaking discovery regarding the magnetic fields around the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) at the center of the Milky Way. This discovery, captured in polarized light for the first time, reveals powerful and organized spirals of magnetic fields emanating from the black hole. The structure of these magnetic fields bears a striking resemblance to those observed around the black hole in the galaxy M87, hinting at the possibility of strong magnetic fields being common to all black holes.

Published in two articles in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, the research involved over 300 researchers from various continents. Scientists had previously unveiled the first image of Sgr A* in 2022, which, despite being much smaller and less massive than the black hole in M87, showed similarities between the two. To further investigate these similarities, researchers decided to study Sgr A* in polarized light.

Observations suggest that the magnetic fields surrounding Sgr A* may be enabling the black hole to launch powerful jets of material, similar to what was observed in M87. This discovery sheds light on the structure and strength of the magnetic fields near black holes, providing valuable insights into their feeding and expulsion mechanisms.

While imaging black holes with polarized light presents challenges, the data indicates that strong magnetic fields may be a universal characteristic of black holes. The presence of a jet around Sgr A* remains uncertain, but the similarities between the two black holes raise intriguing possibilities for further research and understanding of these cosmic phenomena. The collaboration of telescopes around the world, forming the EHT, played a pivotal role in these groundbreaking observations, highlighting the importance of international cooperation in advancing our knowledge of the universe.

By editor

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