by Alex Fox/Smithsonianmag.com
n 2019, the first ever direct image of a black hole was a hazy, orange revelation. Now, the same team of researchers has produced an update of that image that renders the swirling arcs of the supermassive black hole’s magnetic fields, reports Daniel Clery for Science.
The spruced-up picture released by the team of more than 300 researchers behind the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration unveiled the spiraling lines of magnetism emanating from the shadowy center of the black hole by polarizing the light of the first image.
Revealing the structure of the M87 black hole’s magnetic fields may help explain how the celestial vacuum sucks down matter as well as how it fires powerful jets of plasma many thousands of light-years into space, reports Maria Temming for Science News.
“We are now seeing the next crucial piece of evidence to understand how magnetic fields behave around black holes, and how activity in this very compact region of space can drive powerful jets that extend far beyond the galaxy,” says Monika Mościbrodzka, an astrophysicist at Radboud Universiteit in the Netherlands and a coordinator of the working group behind the new research, in a statement.