Scientists are discovering the magnetic inversion of a huge black hole: a “rare and enigmatic” phenomenon.

Credit: NASA Goddard YouTube Channel

According to a new statement from NASA, the strange phenomenon highlighted by an international team of scientists can be attributed to the magnetic reversal of a massive black hole. Scientists have discovered an eruption of light, at different wavelengths, described as “rare and enigmatic”, which took place in a galaxy 236 million light-years away, called 1ES 1927 + 654.

Sudden drop in X-ray brightness

According to the NASA Declaration, telescopes have detected very rapid changes in the wavelength of X-rays. Earlier, as University of Maryland researcher Sibasish Laha explains, similar phenomena had been discovered. as so very rapid changes in the wavelength of visible and ultraviolet light. In this case, however, a sudden drop in X-ray brightness was also detected along with a light burst at other wavelengths.

The telescopes used

The observations were made by NASA’s Swift Neil Gehrels Observatory and ESA’s XMM-Newton satellite, which provided ultraviolet and X-ray data, as well as the Galileo National Telescope in Italy and the 10.4 m Gran Telescopio Canarias, both located on the island of La Palma, which provided data on visible light. Several other radio telescopes also provided radio wave data.

Observed phenomena

The event was discovered in early March 2018, when astronomers discovered that the galaxy 1ES 1927 + 654 suddenly became brighter, with visible light rising about 100 times. Analyzes performed with the Swift telescope then indicated that there had also been a peak in ultraviolet. Finally, in June of that year, astronomers discovered that the X-rays had disappeared.

How black holes attract fabric

The NASA release explains how supermassive black holes themselves, those typically found in the center of galaxies, attract matter. The case falls against the black hole, but does not do so by firing in a straight line. It tends to rotate for a while and form a growth disk. As it rotates, this material heats up and emits visible light, ultraviolet rays and X-rays.
However, there is an area closer to the surface of the event horizon where clouds of very hot particles form a kind of “crown” that emits high-energy X-rays. Sometimes there is “flare” which means that something large has passed over the event horizon, often stars that are torn apart by the gravity of the black hole itself, interrupting the flow of gas. However, this does not seem to be the case, as Josefa Becerra González, a researcher at the Canary Institute of Astrophysics (IAC) in Tenerife, suggests, because these events disappear much faster than the “explosion” that scientists have identified. .

There has probably been a magnetic reversal

The scientists suspect that the sudden disappearance of the X-rays can be attributed to the magnetic field in a large black hole, probably located in the center of the galaxy. A magnetic reversal probably occurred: the north pole of the black hole magnetic field became the south pole and vice versa, as explained by Mitchell Begelman, a professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder who developed the magnetic model of the black hole.

What happens when you turn the magnetic field into a black hole?

The model suggests that during the magnetic inclination of a black hole of this size, the magnetic field tends to weaken towards the periphery of the accretion disk, giving greater heating and therefore a higher illumination level high on the wavelength of visible and ultraviolet light. At some point, the field becomes so weak that the crown is no longer supported and the X-rays disappear. When the magnetic field, after turning, stabilizes, the X-rays return because the corona has been restored. And this is what the scientists observed: As early as the summer months of 2021, the brightness of the galaxy appeared to have returned to its pre-event state.

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