Scientists have finally gotten closer to solving one of the most burning questions ever asked by astronomers. This was accomplished by the creation of a new, extremely advanced telescope, which is said to be able to show us a golf ball on the moon. Read on, as scientists detect magnetic fields outside a black hole’s event horizon.
The new Event Horizon Telescope
Comprised of a number of radio dishes located at stations around the world, the Event Horizon Telescope was designed specifically to study black holes.
It is so powerful that it can show a golf ball on the moon, and scientists hope to use it to find out the answer to one of the most baffling questions they have regarding black holes – Why are they so bright?
The telescope is able to detect polarized light emitted by electrons moving around black holes, this allowing the researchers to come up with a sketch of the black hole’s magnetic field.
Detection of the black hole’s magnetic fields
As with most galaxies, our own beloved Milky Way hides a very dark secret at its core – a supermassive black hole, bent on eventually consuming the entirety of its home.
Dubbed Sagittarius A*, the black hole has been intensely studied before, but no accurate measurements were able to be taken. However, with the new telescope designed specifically for this purpose, astronomers were able to finally detect the magnetic fields outside the black hole’s event horizon.
Even though they were theorized to exist, nobody had ever been able to pick up the magnetic fields outside of a black hole.
Sagittarius A* is located somewhere around 5,000 light-years from Earth, and is about 4 million times bigger than the Sun. Its event horizon is about 12.9 million kilometers from Earth, about the distance from the Sun to Mercury.
Implications and results
The discovery finally gives solid ground to all the decades spent theorizing in regard to the magnetic fields encountered just outside a black hole’s event horizon.
The findings showed the fields to be a lot more chaotic than previously anticipated, with them changing and modifying roughly every 15 minutes. The scientists find themselves once again surprised by the chaos shown by the center of our galaxy.
The new satellite, along with this most useful of discoveries, will stand at the dawn of a new age in space exploration, as it will provide much needed insight into the behavior of these most voracious of entities – the black holes.
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