The massive black holes are not as powerful as they were previously thought to be, says a recent study. Normally, black holes are known for their powerful engulfing capability owing to their strong gravitational pull. While they ferociously devour any object that comes close to their “event horizon”, they also expel out large amounts of matter that travel nearly at the speed of light. Previously scientists thought that the black holes had a very strong gravitational field that could pull all the light inside.
But, a recent study conducted by a team of astronomers from the University of Florida has revealed that magnetic field of the black holes is not that powerful. They are weaker than previously hypothesized. Usually, Black holes have a confusing magnetic field. They pull all the or objects towards them, but at the same time, they also allow jets of charged gas particles escape from them. So, the recent successful detection of a sudden flare coming out of a low mass black might help scientists solve this magnetic mystery of black holes.
When the scientists got the opportunity to measure the magnetic field of a rare outburst of jets from a black hole of the binary system V404 Cygni, they found out that these magnetic fields were weaker than previously imagined. The measurements revealed that the magnetic energy around the black hole is about 400 times lower than previous crude estimates. For the observation of this rare event, astronomers used the infrared camera named CIRCE (Canarias InfraRed Camera Experiment) fitted to the lens mirror of the 34-foot Gran Telescopio Canarias in Canary Islands, Spain.
These latest measurements of the magnetic field of V404 Cygni will help scientists to know how magnetism works in the case of black holes. Co-author of the study, Stephen Eikenberry, said that their surprisingly low measurements would force new constraints on the theoretical models that previously focused on strong magnetic fields accelerating and directing the jet flows. “We weren’t expecting this, so it changes much of what we thought we knew,” he said.
University of Florida doctoral students Yigit Dalilar and Alan Garner, who were a part of the study said that smaller jet-producing black holes, like the one observed for the study, are the rock stars of galaxies. Their outbursts occur suddenly and are short-lived. They said that the outbursts of V404 Cygni lasted for only a few weeks and before that, its last outbursts occurred way back in 1989. V404 Cygni is a binary system that consists of a 40-mile wide black hole with the mass of ten suns and a Sun just like our solar system’s Sun. It is situated 8000 light years away from our Earth. The latest study was published in the journal Science.