The Supermassive Black Hole M87 Begins to Reveal its Secrets


Astronomers - who revealed the world's first black hole image  - were able to capture a new image of the rotating magnetic field near its edge, a crucial step in understanding these mysterious cosmic worlds, according to a recent report by the French newspaper, Le Figaro.

Polarized light

On April 10, 2019, the giant black hole at the core of Messier 87 galaxy, located 55 million light-years away, appeared as a dark circle in the middle of a flaming aura.

This exclusive image - produced by the International Cooperation Group of the Event Horizon Telescope, which connects 8 telescopes around the world - was the most direct evidence of the existence of black holes.

Two years later - and after an in-depth study of the data collected in 2017 - the Event Horizon Telescope scientists discovered more about the mechanism of a black hole with a mass of several billion suns mass. 

Their research paper was published last Wednesday in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

In the new image of the black hole, we discover polarized light, as if it was passing through a filter that helps isolate part of the light radiation.

The new polarized M87 giant black hole image EHT Collaboration

“The polarization of light contains information that allows us to better understand the physics behind the image seen in April 2019, which was not possible before. This is a major step ”, underlined Ivan Marti-Vidal, coordinator of one of the working groups of the EHT and researcher at the University of Valencia (Spain).

 "We observe for real what the theoretical models predicted, it is incredibly satisfying!" said Frédéric Gueth, deputy director of "Iram", whose telescope of 30 meters in the Spanish Sierra Nevada is part of the EHT network.

Strong light objects

The polarization revealed the structure of the magnetic field, located at the edge of the black hole, and made it possible to produce an accurate image of its shape, similar to a vortex of filaments.

This extremely powerful magnetic field - much more than that surrounding the Earth - comes to oppose a resistance to the force of gravitation of the black hole: "a kind of balance occurs between the two forces, like a fight, even if it is in the dark. final gravity wins ”, explains the astronomer.

"The magnetic field at the edge of the black hole is strong enough to repel hot gas and help it resist the force of gravity," explains Jason Dexter, of the University of Colorado at Boulder in the United States.

No matter comes out of a black hole once swallowed ("accreted"). But the cosmic monster, as powerful as it is, does not swallow "100% of everything in its environment: a part escapes", develops this researcher at the CNRS.

That part of the material that is not captured - about 10% - is ejected, and the magnetic field plays a key role in this mechanism. “The material will follow a trajectory along the lines of the field,” continues Frédéric Gueth.

The magnetic force would not only extract matter, but also eject powerful jets of light at immense speeds extending at least 5,000 light years beyond the galaxy itself.

The energy bodies coming from M87 are "one of the most mysterious phenomena in this galaxy," according to the European Southern Observatory.

The interaction of forces detected by the EHT is believed to be present in all black holes, from the smallest to the largest masses, and lurking in the center of most galaxies, including the Milky Way. 

According to the conclusion of researcher Jason Dexter, "What happens inside black holes will remain a mystery, and therefore the challenge is to understand what is happening around them as much as possible."

Source:

  • https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/2041-8213/abe4de
  • https://www.lefigaro.fr/sciences/le-trou-noir-geant-m87-commence-a-livrer-ses-secrets-20210324