It may take a lot of time to capture the first real image of a black hole, but the subsequent process only took a few years. The New York Times reported that researchers at the Event Horizon Telescope have released the most detailed black hole picture to date.
The latest snapshot of the Messier 87 galaxy hole was shown for the first time under polarized light, illustrating the behavior of the magnetic field at the extreme edge of cosmic phenomena.
The new visual effect shows that these magnetic fields are strong enough to resist the strongly magnetized gas in the event horizon, thereby helping some of the gas escape the crushing gravity of the hole itself.
Gas has to slip through those fields to fall into the hole, the University of Colorado’s Jason Dexter said. The imagery also suggests that the jet gets its power from the rotational energy of the black hole, according to fellow Event Horizon contributor Michael Johnson.
The data also lets scientists estimate that the black hole is a relatively modest eater — it’s ‘only’ consuming a thousandth of the Sun’s mass each year.
You should see more insights in the future. While the EHT’s combination of worldwide telescopes is limited, a future version should be capable enough to produce full-fledged videos of the magnetic activity. That should show how the magnetic fields extract energy from the black hole and further demystify one of the universe’s stranger objects.