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The Massive and Unexpected Magnetic Field of Black Holes

Posted on June 26, 2016

For a long time, the force of a black hole is defined only by its gravitational field, but a new analysis of natural radio waves emitted from the vicinity of black holes now reveals that magnetic fields have an unexpected presence and an even more unexpected force that rivals even that of its powerful gravity.

Gas emitted from a black Hole

The authors of the analysis, the U.S. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab),in California, and the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) in Bonn, Germany, have discovered that magnetic fields play an extremely influential role in the dynamics surrounding the supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies. In fact, dozens of black holes studied, the magnetic field strength is comparable to the force produced by its powerful gravity.

The study by the team of Alexander Tchekhovskoy and Mohammad Zamaninasab is the first that has systematically measured the strength of the magnetic fields near black holes.

 

Before this new research, Tchekhovskoy developed computational models of black holes including magnetic fields. Their models suggest that a black hole could sustain a magnetic field that was as strong as its severity, but so far no observational evidence that supported this prediction. With both balanced forces, a cloud of gas trapped in the top of the magnetic field would be safe pull caused by the force of gravity and levitate limit on such gruesome place.

 

The new results entail the need for theorists to reassess many of the accepted ideas about the behavior of black holes. The magnetic fields are strong enough to dramatically alter the way in which the gas falls into the black hole and the way the gas produces jets that escape the action of the black hole.