Astronomers have taken the first direct image of a black hole as it spews out a powerful jet.
The new photo shows the massive brutality Black hole At the heart of the galaxy Messier 87 (M87), the first-ever black hole Its human image directly.
The image accurately shows for the first time how the base of such an astrophysical jet moving at speeds close to the speed of light relates to the matter orbiting around it. Giant black hole Before feeding on its surface, astronomers call it accretion. former Images of M87’s central black hole I was able to capture the jet it was emitting and the supermassive black hole itself, but not the two features together.
“This new image completes the picture by showing the region around the black hole and the jet at the same time,” study team member Jae-Yong Kim, of Kyungpook National University in South Korea and the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, said. he said in a statement (Opens in a new tab).
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It captured the first historic image of the central supermassive black hole M87, which has a mass 6.5 billion times that of the Sun and is located 55 million light-years from Earth. Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) in 2017 and unveiled two years later. This new image of M87 and its outflow was created using 2018 data from radio telescopes with the Global Millimeter VLBI Array (GMVA), the Greenland Telescope, and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), which worked together to form a virtual instrument about the size of Earth itself (such as a grid EHT).
Most or all of them are great galaxies It is believed that they have supermassive black holes in their hearts. And some of these giant planets, like the one in M87’s center, guzzle large amounts of matter in the form of gas and dust — and even unfortunate stars that get too close.
As a result, these feeding monsters emit powerful jets of matter that move close to the speed of light and can span thousands of light-years—at times, beyond the confines of the galaxies they harbor. However, how these supermassive black holes do this is not fully understood.
“We know that jets shoot out from the region around black holes, but we still don’t fully understand how this actually happens,” study team member Ru Sen Lu of the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory said in the same statement. “To study this directly, we need to observe the jet’s origin as close to the black hole as possible.”
In addition to showing the jet emerging from this supermassive black hole, the new image also shows what scientists call the black hole’s shadow.
Related: The supermassive black hole of the galaxy M87 shoots jets at nearly the speed of light
As matter orbits the supermassive black hole at near the speed of light thanks to the massive gravitational influence of this cosmic monster, the matter heats up and glows.
This creates the bright golden ring seen in EHT images of M87, the supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way galaxy. arch a* (Sgr A*). This glowing golden ring is surrounded by pitch darkness, the shadow of a black hole.
The new image of the M87 supermassive black hole also differs from the EHT image because it shows the region in longer wavelengths of light, which affects what astronomers can see in this region.
“At this wavelength, we can see how the jet exits the emission loop around the central supermassive black hole,” team member Thomas Kirschbaum, of the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, said in the same statement.
The size of the black hole ring in this new image is also 50% larger than in the EHT image. This difference, scientists said, revealed that M87’s supermassive black hole is gobbling up matter more quickly than previously thought.
In addition, the sensitivity of ALMA, which consists of 66 antennas in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, and GLT, and GMVA, which consists of 14 radio telescopes in Europe and North America, allowed astronomers to use a process called interferometry to synchronize signals from individual telescopes. It correctly detects the black hole’s shadow and sees deeper into the jet’s emission at the same time.
With this network of telescopes, astronomers will now work to better understand how supermassive black holes release powerful jets of matter. The simultaneous observations should allow the team behind this image to decipher the complex processes occurring near the supermassive black hole.
“We plan to observe the region around the black hole at the center of M87 at different radio wavelengths to further study the jet’s emissions,” said Eduardo Ross, of the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy. Exciting, as we will be able to find out more about what is happening near one of the most mysterious regions in the world Universe. “
The team’s research is published online today (April 26) in the journal nature (Opens in a new tab). (Opens in a new tab)
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