Weather of Arabia - Scientists monitored a new image of a black hole 54 million light-years away from Earth, showing the "violent events" that take place around these cosmic phenomena known to swallow matter around them and pull light into them, but they can also launch high-energy particles into space.
Understanding how black holes create such massive matter has been a long-standing problem in astronomy. To study it, scientists needed to observe jets of matter shooting straight out of the black hole, as the new image shows.
The image demonstrates for the first time the connection between the flow of "material drawn inward near the supermassive black hole and the source of the eruption," said astrophysicist Ru Sen Lu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai, who is the principal investigator of the study published in the journal Nature.
Scientists obtained the new image, using 16 telescopes at different locations on Earth that together formed a planet-sized observing dish.
The supermassive black hole, whose image was taken, is located at the center of a relatively nearby galaxy, "Messier 87", or "M87", approximately 54 million light-years from Earth.
The black hole itself, which has a mass of 6.5 billion times the mass of our sun, also appeared in the first ever image of that cosmic phenomenon, which was unveiled in 2019, and one was taken of another black hole last year.
The two images, which show only the darkness of the black hole and a ring of bright material surrounding it, and the new image, all came from observations made using many radio telescopes located around the world, but the newer image shows light emitted at a greater wavelength, which expands what can be seen. .
Black holes are difficult to spot by their very nature, as they are an entity with such an enormous pull that no matter or even light can escape from them once they fall into their gravitational pull.
Supermassive black holes reside in the centers of most galaxies, and some of them not only devour any surrounding material but also shoot huge, fiery jets of high-energy particles far into space.
The new image shows how the base of these jets connects with matter orbiting the black hole in a ring-like formation.
"This is what astronomers and astrophysicists have been waiting to see for more than half a century," said astrophysicist Kazunori Akiyama of MIT's Haystack Observatory, also co-author of the study. "It is the dawn of an exciting new age."
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