Strong magnetic fields surround Milky Way’s black hole – Science & Tech.

Discovery of Powerful Magnetic Fields Surrounding Milky Way’s Supermassive Black Hole Sheds Light on Their Universal Nature

Recently, astronomers made a significant discovery about the powerful magnetic fields swirling around the black hole located at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Using new images from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), researchers were able to observe, for the first time in polarized light, a ring of magnetic fields surrounding Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the heart of our galaxy. These magnetic fields are similar to those observed around M87*, the supermassive black hole at the core of the M87 Galaxy.

According to Sara Issaoun, a member of Harvard’s Center for Astrophysics and co-lead of the project, these findings show that strong, twisted and organized magnetic fields exist near the black hole. The new discovery was possible through polarized light images that allowed astronomers to isolate the magnetic field lines of the black hole.

Supermassive black holes are fascinating entities found at the center of galaxies and are significantly larger in mass compared to our Sun, with masses ranging from millions to billions of times greater. Although these entities emerged early in our universe, their origins remain a mystery due to their immense gravitational pull that makes them impossible to observe directly. However, with EHT capturing images of M87* in 2019 and Sagittarius A* in 2022, researchers were able to view halo light formed due to inflow and outflow of matter and gas around black holes.

Angelo Ricarte, a member of Harvard’s Black Hole Initiative and co-lead on this project highlighted how imaging polarized light emitted by hot gas surrounding black holes is crucial as it allows researchers to directly understand structure and strength of magnetic fields driving matter towards these cosmic giants. Mariafelicia De Laurentis, deputy scientist at EHT and professor at University of Naples Federico II added that this discovery suggests that strong magnetic fields may be a universal characteristic among all supermassive black holes.

This discovery has opened up new avenues for further research into these mysterious cosmic objects that continue to astound scientists with their sheer size and complexity.

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