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The Milky Way's black hole gets a new image with polarized light

The Milky Way's black hole gets a new image with polarized light

A new image of the Milky Way's supermassive black hole reveals a map of its magnetic field thanks to polarized light

March 27
2024
– 12:00

(Updated at 12:06 p.m.)

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration has revealed a new image of polarized light from space Black hole Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*)They show strong magnetic fields like those in the black hole in the M87 galaxy. This suggests that this may be a universal feature of all organisms of this type.

In 2022, EHT scientists unveiled The first image of Arc A*A supermassive black hole inhabiting the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. This historic achievement gave astronomers around the world a unique opportunity to study the object and compare it to previously established theories.

Now, the collaboration has released a new image of the body, this time using polarized light from circumcision plasma. The image shows remarkable similarities between this black hole and M87*, the protagonist of the novel The first real image of a black hole To be obtained by humanity.

Polarized light imaging is useful for studying “hidden” features of a light source, such as its magnetic fields. They are obtained using filters that detect only photons of light directed in the same direction, sometimes dramatically changing the appearance of the object.

Polarized optical image of M87* (Image: Reproduction/EHT Collaboration)

Photo: ChannelTech

“Polarized light teaches us a lot about astrophysics, the properties of gas, and the mechanisms that occur when a black hole feeds,” according to project co-leader Angelo Ricart of the Harvard Black Hole Initiative.

studies Light polarized around M87*, released in 2021, provided a kind of mapping of its magnetic field structure, giving clues about how it affects the bright plasma. Now, new images of Sagittarius A* show astronomers that the magnetic fields of both black holes are similar.

both of them black holes They are very different in some properties, such as the amount of mass – Sgr A* has just over 4 million solar masses, compared to M87*'s 6.5 billion. However, polarized lights reveal that they both have some things in common, such as the presence of a strong magnetic field.

Comparing images of the M87* and Sagittarius A* black holes in polarized light (Image: Reproduction/EHT Collaboration)

Comparing images of the M87* and Sagittarius A* black holes in polarized light (Image: Reproduction/EHT Collaboration)

Photo: ChannelTech

As a result, scientists tend to believe that most (if not all) supermassive black holes in the universe have very strong magnetic fields. This is independent of the activity around them, as Sagittarius A* is “dormant”, while M87* is active enough to emit a relativistic flux.

The results of the study were published in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Source: Astrophysical Journal Letters (1, two); Eso

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