A new revelation from scientists suggests that a black hole 55 million light-years away is moving and rotating. They called the movement of the black hole “interesting and useful.”
Astronomers said there have been major changes to the object, known as M87, over time, The Independent reported. The M87, at the center of the M87 galaxy, came to light last year after capturing an image.
It was the first image of the black hole that humanity took. That image was groundbreaking and helped reveal the nature of the black hole and the surrounding ring of hot plasma.
The latest images captured the black hole for a relatively limited period of time, a one-week window. The scientists said the time period is too short to see many of the changes occurring in the object.
But by observing the shadow over a longer period, over four years, from 2009 to 2013, the researchers saw that the black hole’s shadow changed over time. This was long before the world saw the first image of the black hole. Due to a lack of data, the researchers took the data and used statistical models to understand how the appearance of the M87 * may have changed over time.
The researchers were quoted as saying,” They found that the black hole behaved as expected: the crescent shape seen in the original image appears to stick around over a period of several years”
This helps to understand the nature of the black hole and its shadow that arrived after the first image was confirmed.
But they were surprised to find that while the ring remains there and the diameter is constant, it fades over time. This is supposed to happen when gas falls on the black hole and is stirred by the heat and extremes at the edge of the object.
“Because the flow of matter is turbulent, the crescent appears to wobble with time,” said Maciek Wielgus, an astronomer at Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian and lead author on the paper.
He also added, “Actually, we see quite a lot of variation there, and not all theoretical models of accretion allow for so much wobbling. What it means is that we can start ruling out some of the models based on the observed source dynamics.”
Geoffrey Bower, a project scientist on the Event Horizon Telescope, which took the images said, “Monitoring M87* with an expanded EHT array will provide new images and much richer data sets to study the turbulent dynamics. We are already working on analyzing the data from 2018 observations, obtained with an additional telescope located in Greenland. In 2021 we are planning observations with two more sites, providing extraordinary imaging quality. This is a really exciting time to study black holes!”
Shep Doeleman, director of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) and the Center for Astrophysics, revealed the first glimpse of the black hole at the special conference broadcast by the National Science Foundation (NSF), USA. M87’s black hole is in the center of galaxy M87, far from Earth.
The photo of the black hole was captured via the EHT, which is actually a collaboration of numerous observatory telescopes placed around the world. This essentially uses the power of eight radio telescopes, as well as very long baseline transmetry (VLB), to repeatedly observe the phenomena depicted in the artists’ illustrations. The NSF has also stated that the image shows the shadow of the black hole, which has already been explained as very difficult to capture.