Black holes are not as powerful as previously thought

New research reveals that black holes have much weaker magnetic fields than previously estimated.
By Joseph Scalise | Dec 13, 2017
Black holes do not have as strong of a gravitational pull as previously believed, a new studypublished in the journal Science reports.

This finding comes from a group of astronomers at the University of Florida, who discovered that, despite popular scientific opinion, the magnetic fields of black holes are not extremely powerful. In the past, researchers believed the voids swallowed stars and other matter as a result of their intense pull. The new evidence could cause scientists to re-think that claim.

The team conducted the study after measuring the magnetic field of a black hole known as V404 Cygni. The formation is 40 miles across and sits 8,000 light years from Earth. After analyzing the formation, the researchersdiscovered that its magnetic energy is roughly 400 times less than previous estimates showed.

This is an important discovery because it sheds light on black hole magnetism and may allow researchers to uncover how jets of particles traveling at approximately the speed of light are emitted out of black hole magnetic fields.

"Our surprisingly low measurements will force new constraints on theoretical models that previously focused on strong magnetic fields accelerating and directing the jet flows," explainedstudy co-author Stephen Eikenberry, a researcher at the University of Florida, according toTech Times. "We weren't expecting this, so it changes much of what we thought we knew."

The research also reveals how matter behaves in some of the most extreme conditions. That knowledge could one day widen the limits of GPS systems and enhance future nuclear fusion. The team hopes to expand on their findings and analyze other distant black holes. However, as most supermassive voids sit 30,000 light years from Earth, that is not an easy task. Luckily, they can continue to monitorV404 Cygni.

"This discovery puts us one step closer to understanding how the universe works," saidlead author Yigit Dalilar, a researcher at the University of Florida, in a statement.

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