A supermassive black hole located 54 million light-years from Earth has been observed to have a magnetic field so strong that it prevents matter from passing through the event horizon.

The supermassive black hole at the center of the Messier 87 galaxy caught attention in 2019. Using the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), scientists collected data on an object 6.5 billion times more massive than the Sun in order to put together the world’s first image of a black hole.

The scientists behind the project, the EHT Collaboration, have come up with another important detail: They have modeled how electric light fields orbit around a supermassive black hole about 54 million light-years from Earth. This polarized light – also called circular polarization – carries information about the magnetic field and about particles orbiting the black hole and accelerating to almost the speed of light.

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Scientists believe that these magnetic fields may prevent the black hole from absorbing matter, and instead shoot it out into space in parallel jets, also at speeds similar to the speed of light.


Andrew Chell, he Astrophysical Journal According to the co-author of the publication published in the scientific journal, the American scientist at Princeton University, circular polarization was the last thing investigated in the initial observations of M87, and was the most difficult to observe.

According to the specialist, the current results allow us to finally answer: how a black hole absorbs matter and how it is able to create an outflow of matter that extends far beyond the galaxy.

Based on data recorded by the ALMA radio telescope system in Chile, the researchers concluded that an extremely strong magnetic field prevents matter heading toward the black hole from passing through the event horizon. This is the point of no return, and the substance will certainly be absorbed by the body.

Researchers continue to analyze the data to learn more about the behavior of black holes.

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