It may have taken years to get the first true photo of a black hole, but it took only a year or two to get a follow-up photo. The New York Times reported that Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) researchers have published the most detailed photograph of a black hole ever taken.
An updated snapshot of the black hole of the Messier 87 galaxy shows it for the first time in polarized light, showing how the magnetic fields you see in the photograph with lines behave at the very edge of the cosmic phenomenon.
The new visuals show that these fields are strong enough to offer resistance to the highly magnetized gas present at the event horizon, helping some of the gas escape the crushing gravity in the hole itself. Jason Dexter of the University of Colorado said that the gas must leak from these areas in order to fall into the hole. According to Event Horizon member Michael Johnson, the images show that the jet is powered by the rotational energy of the hole.
The data also allows scientists to predict that the black hole is a relatively modest eater. These consume “only one thousandth of the mass of the Sun every year.”
We expect to see more information on black holes in the future. Although the combination of EHT’s worldwide telescopes is limited, future images will be capable of producing full-fledged videos of magnetic activity. This will show how magnetic fields extract energy from the hole and solve one of the more bizarre objects of the universe even more mystery.