The Event Horizon Telescope has spotted a violent Blazar staring straight towards us from 3.5 billion light years away and scientists believe that it can help us in understanding the black hole within our own Milky Way galaxy.
While the NASA James Webb Space Telescope is getting all the attention these days, the Event Horizon Telescope (ETH) has discovered something tremendous. It observed a violent blazar aiming straight towards the Earth from a distance of 3.5 billion light years away. The existence of blazars has been known to us for a while, but the recent observation by ETH has revealed important information about the supermassive black hole this jet of powerful radiation is emerging from. Read on to know more about it and how it unlocks the secrets of the Milky Way.
To truly understand the importance of the discovery, we need to understand a few terms here. When an extremely violent supermassive black hole consumes the nearby gas and dust, such material in the galaxy begins swirling around the black hole in a formation known as an accretion disk. This disk looks somewhat like the rings of Saturn. Now, as black holes contain very high gravitational and magnetic fields, they sometimes entwine with this material and whips it out of the disk in a straight line. To us, it looks like a jet stream moving outside of a galaxy at an angle. We call this a Quasar. And when this jet stream is extended in the direction of the Earth and we look directly at the center of this jet, it is called a Blazar.
Event Horizon Telescope spots a blazar coming from a supermassive black hole
This blazar is classified as J1924-2914 and is located 3.5 billion light years away from the Earth. Using the ETH, scientists have been able to observe this blazar at different frequencies to understand how a black hole fundamentally operates. Scientists have found that the jet of radiation and the magnetic field that surrounds it is twisted in a counter-clockwise direction.
“Our images constitute the highest angular-resolution images of polarized emission from a quasar ever obtained. We see interesting details in the strongly polarized innermost core of the source; the morphology of the polarized emission is hinting at the presence of a twisted magnetic field structure”, Sara Issaoun, NHFP Einstein Fellow at the Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts and the lead author of the study said in a statement.
With a supermassive black hole within our own Milky Way galaxy, this data will be helpful in understanding both the speed of consumption and the magnetic field strength of our black hole.