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The 1st image of a black hole’s magnetic field

The magnetic field lines of a black hole

Using the data from the first image of a black hole, obtained in 2019, scientists have now extracted evidence of the magnetic field lines near the event horizon, and from this produced the first image of such lines.

The image to the left, reduced to post here, shows the spiraling magnetic field lines against the bright event horizon ring.

As the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) team describes today in a pair of papers in Astrophysical Journal, the new picture uses the same data as in the original image, produced from a series of observations in 2017 of the supermassive black hole at the core of nearby galaxy M87, using the combined collecting power of eight radio observatories across the world. To extract the polarization information, the data have gone through many months of additional analysis.

The scientists also note that the orientation of the field lines might eventually help explain the jets being thrown from its poles.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


  • mrsizer

    Aren’t magnetic field lines “loops”? These seem to arc out into nowhere.

  • We’re looking at a 3D (4D?) object from a 2D perspective. That field lines are discernable is amazing.

  • Max

    Interesting. The theory’s concerning Black holes very widely. From a super dense ball, to a flat disk.
    The difference depends on how fast it is spinning?
    The interesting thing is, although “matter” such as light cannot escape a black hole, natural “forces” such as gravity and magnetism is unaffected. Noticing that the rotation of the black hole bends the toroidal magnetic field around it’s self in a curve, I wonder if the effects of the time distortion are visible in this manner from an object so far away. (Although it is spinning very fast, it is not spinning at all from our frame of reference because inside the gravitational field, time has stopped, allowing us to get a good picture of the magnetic field loops which would normally be blurred)
    The implications are considerable as it shows a kind of fiction between what we are told, and what our lying eyes tell us differently.

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