Magnetic Fields Swirl Around the Black Hole at the Heart of Our Milky Way Galaxy: New Discovery Reveals Similarities with Other Galactic Supermassive Black Holes

Strong magnetic fields surround Milky Way’s black hole – Science & Tech.

In a groundbreaking discovery, astronomers have found that powerful magnetic fields are swirling around the black hole located at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Using polarized light from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), researchers have revealed for the first time a ring of magnetic fields surrounding Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the heart of our galaxy.

The discovery made by the European Southern Observatory shows that these magnetic fields are similar to those observed around M87*, a supermassive black hole located in the core of another galaxy. This finding suggests that strong magnetic fields may be common among all black holes.

According to Sara Issaoun, a member of Harvard’s Center for Astrophysics and co-lead of the project, this new discovery shows that there are indeed strong, twisted and organized magnetic fields near the black hole at the heart of our Milky Way galaxy. The images captured using polarized light allowed researchers to isolate these magnetic field lines and gain insights into their structure and strength.

Supermassive black holes, which are found at the center of galaxies, are significantly larger in mass compared to our Sun, with masses ranging from millions to billions of times greater. Although they emerged early in the universe, their origins remain a mystery due to their immense gravitational pull that prevents anything from escaping directly. However, with EHT capturing images of M87* in 2019 and Sagittarius A* in 2022, astronomers were able to view the halo of light that forms due to inflow and outflow of matter and gas around black holes.

Angelo Ricarte, a member of Harvard Black Hole Initiative and co-lead on this project emphasizes that imaging polarized light emitted by hot gas surrounding black holes is significant as it allows researchers to directly understand their structure and strength. Mariafelicia De Laurentis, deputy scientist at EHT and professor at University Federico II Naples adds that this presence of strong magnetic fields around both M87* and Sagittarius A* suggest a universal characteristic among such systems.

This discovery opens up new avenues for future research into understanding these mysterious cosmic entities better.

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