the second ever picture of a black hole was just released
For The First Time, Twisted Light Reveals Magnetic Fields Around The Black Hole M87*
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posted on Mar, 25 2021 @ 03:09 PM
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M87* is the Black Hole that grabbed our attention in 2019 when astronomers published the first direct image of a Black Hole captured by the Event Horizon Telescope , since then they have continued to analyse the data leading to the discovery that the image contains evidence of light being twisted by the gravitational forces of the Black Hole.
Now, scientists with the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration have carefully analyzed that glowing ring of golden light from 55 million light-years away, and found evidence of strong polarization – the twisting of the orientation of the light waves, generated by powerful magnetic fields in the region around the black hole.
“This work is a major milestone: the polarization of light carries information that allows us to better understand the physics behind the image we saw in April 2019, which was not possible before,” said astronomer Iván Martí-Vidal of the University of Valencia in Spain.
“Unveiling this new polarized-light image required years of work due to the complex techniques involved in obtaining and analyzing the data.”
Polarization is a well known and understood behavior of electromagnetic radiation. As a particle of light travels through space, its oscillations are oriented in a certain direction. If it is scattered by, for example, dust in the interstellar medium, or rotated by a magnetic field, its orientation can change; we call that change polarization.
Aside from being a pretty picture the discovery could help unlock long held secrets of Black Holes.
This could be key to understanding a phenomenon that has long proven to be a puzzle – relativistic black hole jets.
Nothing that we can currently detect can escape a black hole once it’s passed the critical proximity threshold, but not all the material in the accretion disk swirling into an active black hole inevitably ends up beyond the event horizon. A small fraction of it somehow gets funneled from the inner region of the accretion disk to the poles where it is blasted into space in the form of jets of ionized plasma, at speeds a significant percentage of the speed of light.
Astronomers think that the black hole’s magnetic field plays a role in this process. The magnetic field lines, according to this theory, act as a synchrotron that accelerates material before launching it at tremendous speed.
edit on 25-3-2021 by gortex because: (no reason given)
Had to add the above, it is the most important part, eh?