New black hole image reveals mesmerising magnetic fields at milky way's core

The magnetic fields swirling around Sagittarius A* offer a tantalising glimpse into the cosmic ballet of forces
An undated image showcasing the polarised view of the Milky Way black hole. — Business Insider
An undated image showcasing the polarised view of the Milky Way black hole. — Business Insider

Astronomers have revealed a captivating discovery about the centre of our Milky Way galaxy. Using advanced technology from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), including scientists from the Centre for Astrophysics at Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA), they've captured a mesmerising image showing powerful magnetic fields swirling from the edge of the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*).

These magnetic fields have been observed in polarised light for the first time, providing fresh insight into the enigmatic processes operating close to our galaxy's centre.

Published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, the image reveals a magnetic field structure remarkably similar to that of the black hole in the M87 galaxy. This resemblance raises the possibility that black holes share powerful magnetic fields. Furthermore, the picture suggests that Sgr A* may contain a hidden jet.

According to PHYS.ORG, this groundbreaking discovery builds on previous research, which revealed the first image of Sgr A* in 2022. Sgr A* is very similar to its counterpart, even though it is much smaller and less massive than the black hole in the M87 galaxy.

The team's decision to study Sgr A* in polarised light stems from previous studies showing that magnetic fields around black holes like M87* can launch powerful jets of material. By imaging polarised light emitted by hot gas near black holes, astronomers can infer the structure and strength of the magnetic fields that govern their behaviour.

Understanding the magnetic fields surrounding black holes is crucial for deciphering their interactions with surrounding matter. Sara Issaoun, an astrophysicist at CfA and co-lead of the project, describes the findings as demonstrating "strong, twisted, and organised" magnetic fields near the Milky Way's central black hole.

Astronomers expect further discoveries regarding black holes and their magnetic fields as technology develops. With ongoing observations and planned expansions of the Event Horizon Telescope, we're on the brink of unravelling more mysteries about these enigmatic cosmic entities.