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DENVER — You've seen the first close-up of a black hole. Now, get ready to see the faint wisps of matter surrounding the object.
The international team responsible for the first-ever image of a black hole's shadow already has plans to take a better, more detailed image. And that image could reveal new details about the matter and magnetic fields wrapped around the supermassive, distant object at the center of galaxy Messier 87 (M87).
Team - Image - Wisps - Duller - Matter
In particular, the team hopes to image curling wisps of duller matter that simulations suggest should surround that bright ring already pictured, said Avery Broderick, an astrophysicist at the University of Waterloo in Canada who works on interpreting data from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). The shapes of those wisps should tell physicists whether a long-held theory of how matter gets knocked from a black hole's accretion disk into its throat is correct.
"One of the stories that we tell our graduate students is that the 'magneto-rotational instability' drives accretion," or the process in which black holes suck in nearby gas, Broderick said.
Physicists - Live - Science - Talk - Turbulence
Physicists believe, he explained to Live Science after the talk, that as turbulence shakes the hot material of the accretion disk, its shaking particles magnetically tug on each other across vast distances. That magnetic tugging causes some...
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