GLOBALink | New details of massive black hole emerge

Source: Xinhua| 2021-03-26 21:22:04|Editor: huaxia

A new image of a black hole has been released, shedding new light on its detail.

Two years ago, astronomers revealed the first image of the black hole.

The image shows a crescent-shaped, ring-like structure with a dark central region -- the black hole's shadow. It lies in the center of a distant galaxy identified as Messier 87, some 55 million light-years from Earth, with a mass 6.5 billion times that of the Sun.

The image of the black hole was based on observations through the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), an earth-sized virtual telescope network linking eight ground-based radio telescopes across the globe.

In the shape of a bright-ring-like structure with a dark central region, the black hole looked like a doughnut. Now, seen through a light polarizer, it appears more like a flaming vortex.

Over the last two years, researchers involved in EHT collaboration have been delving deeper into the data collected from observations, and they discovered that a significant fraction of the light around the black hole is polarized.

Just as polarized sunglasses reduce glare and help us see better, polarization allows astronomers to gain a sharper view of the black hole and map magnetic field lines near its inner edge.

The collaboration involves over 300 researchers around the world, including eight from the Shanghai observatory.

Produced by Xinhua Global Service