Event Horizon Telescope captures stunning new image of Milky Way’s black hole

Event Horizon Telescope captures stunning new image of Milky Way’s black hole post thumbnail image
A new image from the Event Horizon Telescope has revealed powerful magnetic fields spiraling from the edge of a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A*.
Enlarge / A brand new picture from the Occasion Horizon Telescope has revealed highly effective magnetic fields spiraling from the sting of a supermassive black gap on the heart of the Milky Manner, Sagittarius A*.
EHT Collaboration

Physicists have been assured since the1980s that there’s a supermassive black gap on the heart of the Milky Manner galaxy, much like these considered on the heart of most spiral and elliptical galaxies. It is since been dubbed Sagittarius A* (pronounced A-star), or SgrA* for brief. The Occasion Horizon Telescope (EHT) captured the primary picture of SgrA* two years in the past. Now the collaboration has revealed a brand new polarized picture (above) showcasing the black gap’s swirling magnetic fields. The technical particulars seem in two new papers printed in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. The brand new picture is strikingly much like one other EHT picture of a bigger supermassive black gap, M87*, so this is likely to be one thing that each one such black holes share.

The one option to “see” a black gap is to picture the shadow created by gentle because it bends in response to the article’s highly effective gravitational area. As Ars Science Editor John Timmer reported in 2019, the EHT is not a telescope within the conventional sense. As a substitute, it is a assortment of telescopes scattered across the globe. The EHT is created by interferometry, which makes use of gentle within the microwave regime of the electromagnetic spectrum captured at completely different places. These recorded photos are mixed and processed to construct a picture with a decision much like that of a telescope the scale of essentially the most distant places. Interferometry has been used at amenities like ALMA (the Atacama Giant Millimeter/submillimeter Array) in northern Chile, the place telescopes could be unfold throughout 16 km of desert.

In principle, there is no higher restrict on the scale of the array, however to find out which photons originated concurrently on the supply, you want very exact location and timing info on every of the websites. And you continue to have to assemble enough photons to see something in any respect. So atomic clocks have been put in at lots of the places, and actual GPS measurements have been constructed up over time. For the EHT, the massive accumulating space of ALMA—mixed with selecting a wavelength by which supermassive black holes are very shiny—ensured enough photons.

In 2019, the EHT introduced the first direct image taken of a black gap on the heart of an elliptical galaxy, Messier 87, positioned within the constellation of Virgo some 55 million light-years away. This picture would have been unattainable a mere era in the past, and it was made potential by technological breakthroughs, revolutionary new algorithms, and (in fact) connecting a number of of the world’s finest radio observatories. The picture confirmed that the article on the heart of M87* is certainly a black gap.

In 2021, the EHT collaboration released a new image of M87* exhibiting what the black gap seems to be like in polarized gentle—a signature of the magnetic fields on the object’s edge—which yielded contemporary perception into how black holes gobble up matter and emit highly effective jets from their cores. A number of months later, the EHT was back with images of the “darkish coronary heart” of a radio galaxy referred to as Centaurus A, enabling the collaboration to pinpoint the location of the supermassive black gap on the galaxy’s heart.

SgrA* is way smaller but in addition a lot nearer than M87*. That made it a bit more difficult to seize an equally sharp picture as a result of SgrA* adjustments on time scales of minutes and hours in comparison with days and weeks for M87*. Physicist Matt Strassler previously compared the feat to “taking a one-second publicity of a tree on a windy day. Issues get blurred out, and it may be tough to find out the true form of what was captured within the picture.”


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