Newly captured image shows strong magnetic fields surrounding the black hole at the center of the Milky Way

In a groundbreaking discovery, scientists working with the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) have uncovered new details about the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Using polarized light to study the black hole’s magnetic fields, they found a structure that had never been seen before: strong and organized magnetic fields spiraling from the edge of the black hole.

This discovery provides crucial insights into the magnetic field structure around Sgr A*, which is remarkably similar to that of the black hole in M87, even though these two galaxies have different sizes and masses. This similarity suggests that powerful magnetic fields may be a common characteristic of all black holes.

The team of over 300 researchers from around the world collaborated on this project, which was published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters in 2022. Previous observations of M87 had shown that its magnetic fields allowed it to launch powerful jets of material into its surroundings. The new images of Sgr A* suggest that a similar process may be happening there as well.

Imaging black holes with polarized light is challenging due to their quick changes, making it difficult to capture detailed photos. To overcome this obstacle, the collaboration used sophisticated tools and a global network of telescopes to create a virtual Earth-sized telescope, known as EHT, to observe Sgr A* in 2017.

This research has contributed significantly to our understanding of the magnetic fields and structures around black holes, providing valuable insights into these enigmatic cosmic objects’ nature. While scientists have not yet found a visible jet at Sgr A*, further studies could reveal more about this mysterious phenomenon surrounding these fascinating objects in space.

By Samantha Johnson

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