Astronomers have finally seen the first glimpse of magnetic fields around a black hole. The latest images of the black hole situated in the middle of galaxy M87 taken by the Event Horizon Telescope have revealed the existence of magnetic fields.

The first images of this black hole in the galaxy M87 was revealed in 2019 and the most recent pictures have led to an interesting development.


First Image of Black Hole | Image Credit – Event Horizon Telescope

What was found?

The new pictures show a black hole with orange-red-hued light waves swirling inside it like a disc. These colored light waves have helped in confirming the presence of a magnetic field.

The magnetic field is a vector that describes a region around a magnetic material or a moving electric charge inside which magnetism acts.

New pictures of the black hole point out the existence of such a magnetically charged area. The magnetic structure was mapped out by measuring the polarisation of the light emitted by matter in the hot region around the black hole, as is the norm.

How was this discovery made?

Polarisation measures a light wave’s orientation-sees whether it goes up and down or left and right et cetera and whether it can be affected by a magnetic field where the flight originated. It is an extremely useful phenomenon in physics.

Thus by mapping the polarisation of light waves around the black hole, researchers were able to confirm the presence of a magnetic field around the black hole in galaxy M87.

What is the role of gases in it?

Researchers found that some magnetic fields to be around the black hole along with a disc swirling into it. However, this is seen as routine as when gas rotates, it is able to carry along with the magnetic field in it.

The magnetism is believed to have been created by magnetically charged gases around the supermassive black hole, say the two studies published in March in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

What does this mean for black holes?

The visual proof of the existence of magnetic fields around black holes has given a push to the theory that these magnetic fields play an important role in how the black hole injects matter and then ejects powerful plasma jets, thousands of light years away.

Polarised light helps us know about magnetic fields near the black hole and also helps ascertain the black hole’s is eating habits. That is its tendency to scarf down objects and then eject them at great distances with lightning speed.

The discovery of magnetic fields round black holes will vastly help astronomers and researchers in understanding the eating habits of black holes and what causes it to eject matter.