Stunning new photo of black hole shows chaos of space as matter falls in

Scientists have shared a new image of a supermassive black hole which conveys the true chaos of space.

The Event Horizon Telescope [EHT] team released its sharpest image yet of the cosmic wonder that shows the vortex of magnetic chaos surrounding it.

The first images of the M87 black hole which lies at the centre of the M87 galaxy some 55 million light years from Earth were released in 2019.

They displayed a bright ring-like structure with a dark central region described as the black hole's shadow.

Researchers observed images of magnetic fields at the black hole's edge, where some matter falls in.

Meanwhile, other matter is being blown into space in the form of bright, powerful jets that extend at least 5,000 light-years away, beyond the galaxy in which the black hole resides.

Using the same data as for their first image, the the EHT team and University College London (UCL) analysed polarised light around the black hole – light in which the waves are vibrating in one direction only.

By looking at how the light becomes polarised when it is emitted in hot regions of space that are magnetised, astronomers can learn about the material that produced it.

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The new evidence brings researchers a step closer to understanding how these mysterious jets are produced, and how magnetic fields appear to act to keep hot gas out of the black hole, helping it resist gravity's pull.

Co-author and UCL astronomer Dr Ziri Younsi said: "These ground-breaking measurements provide us with exciting new insights into the physical processes by which black holes feed on matter, and how they are able to power such prodigious relativistic outflows as astrophysical jets.

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"In particular, they hint at the role played by magnetic fields in these processes."

Dr Jason Dexter, of the University of Colorado, Boulder, US, said: "The observations suggest that the magnetic fields at the black hole's edge are strong enough to push back on the hot gas and help it resist gravity's pull.

"Only the gas that slips through the field can spiral inwards to the event horizon."

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The EHT is an international collaboration set up to image a black hole by linking eight ground-based radio telescopes globally to make an Earth-sized virtual telescope with unprecedented sensitivity and resolution.

The resolution is sharp enough to measure an orange on the Moon from Earth.

The black hole in the image is located in a galaxy called Messier 87, or M87. It has a mass 6.5 billion times that of the Sun.

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