Magnetic Fields Surrounding Milky Way’s Black Hole – Exploring the Science & Technology

Astronomers have recently made a groundbreaking discovery of powerful magnetic fields swirling around the black hole located at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. The European Southern Observatory announced this discovery, stating that a new image from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) has revealed a ring of magnetic fields surrounding the Sagittarius A* black hole in polarized light for the first time.

These magnetic fields are similar to those observed around the M87* black hole in the heart of the M87 Galaxy, leading scientists to believe that strong magnetic fields might be a common feature of all black holes. Sara Issaoun from Harvard’s Center for Astrophysics, who co-leads the project, described the magnetic fields near our Milky Way’s black hole as strong, twisted, and organized.

Scientists have been studying supermassive black holes found at the centers of galaxies for years now. These cosmic entities possess masses that are millions and even billions of times greater than that of our Sun, with their origins being a mystery to us. Despite the fact that nothing can escape from these black holes’ gravitational pull, advancements in technology have made it possible to indirectly observe them. The EHT captured images of halo light produced by the flow of matter and gases attracted and expelled by these celestial bodies, providing key insights into their behavior.

Angelo Ricarte, a member of Harvard’s Black Hole Initiative and co-lead on this project, noted that by imaging polarized light from hot glowing gas near these cosmic entities, we can directly infer their structures and strengths. Mariafelicia De Laurentis, an EHT deputy scientist and professor at Naples University Federico II stated that strong magnetic fields observed around both M87* and Sagittarius A* may be a universal and fundamental feature in these systems.

The discovery highlights how much more we need to learn about these mysterious celestial bodies and their behaviors in order to better understand our universe as a whole.

By Samantha Johnson

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