Because everyone knows such filters from sunglasses on a small scale. They ensure that irritating stray light in the form of reflections and glare does not disturb our eyes. Light is electromagnetic radiation that vibrates. “The polarization of the light carries information that enables us to better understand the physics behind the image,” quotes a message from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, quoting astronomer Monika Mościbrodzka from Radboud University in the Netherlands. The polarization enables astronomers to recognize in which direction the light is oscillating and can thus draw conclusions about the magnetic fields that are at work there.
Thanks to the polarization, the researchers now know something about the alignment of the magnetic fields involved in this mechanism. They are each perpendicular to the vibrations of the radio waves. These can be seen as bright, structured areas on the image and are turned like a screw: The light is twisted a bit when it penetrates the plasma. The entire ring is magnetized. The researchers were also able to measure the temperature of the jet. It is 100 billion degrees Celsius.
Only the comparison brings more knowledge
There should still be in the future. Originally, the EHT researchers had planned to observe the black hole in our galaxy, Sagittarius A *. When the polarizations for the galactic center of the Milky Way are available and possibly other similar measurements, then the value of the current results will become apparent, the researchers hope. With Sagittarius A * in particular, however, there are doubts as to whether a jet will also be created there. This black hole, at just under four million solar masses, is much smaller than M87 (over six and a half billion solar masses) and more difficult to observe. It is also less active and hardly swallows up any matter. If Sagittarius A * has a jet, then it’s probably a lot smaller.
The EHT collaboration consists of more than 300 researchers from various organizations and universities, including the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn. During the measurements, these scientists connected telescopes in Chile, Mexico, Hawaii, the USA, on Pico Veleta in Spain and from the South Pole to form a virtual observatory the size of the earth. They achieved a resolution of 20 micro-arc seconds deviation. This would make it possible to measure the length of a credit card on the surface of the moon.
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Black holes Galaxy M87 Researchers closer jets