Scientist Discovers Evidence of Black Hole Rotation Using East Asian VLBI Network
Breaking News – September 27, 2023
In a groundbreaking study published in the prestigious journal Nature, researchers from the National Institute of Astronomical Research (Public Organization) have uncovered compelling evidence of black hole rotation. Leveraging data from the East Asian VLBI Network (EAVN) radio telescope network, the team observed a remarkable phenomenon – the direction of the black hole’s jet changes cyclically by approximately 10 degrees every 11 years.
Black holes are known for their enormous gravity, particularly the supermassive black holes that reside at the center of galaxies. These cosmic behemoths attract massive amounts of matter which, when falling into the black hole, gets expelled into space through a visible phenomenon known as a “jet”. These jets, resembling streams of gas made of plasma, can extend hundreds to thousands of light years away at near-light speeds.
The energy transfer mechanism between black holes, accretion disks, and jets has long been a mystery for scientists and astronomers. However, the prevailing theory suggests that some of the energy creating these high-energy jets originates from the rotational motion of black holes.
“The key to understanding this process resides in spinning supermassive black holes. While direct observations of spinning black holes have not been possible until now, our research team is focusing on studying the black hole at the center of the M87 galaxy to unravel this mystery,” explained a spokesperson from the National Institute of Astronomical Research.
The M87 galaxy, located relatively close to Earth, offers a unique opportunity for direct observations of the jet’s formation near the black hole’s event horizon. Thanks to the East Asian VLBI Network’s network of remote interfering radio telescopes, scientists have been able to collect and analyze data over the past 23 years, leading to this groundbreaking discovery.
The observed oscillation of the jet plays a pivotal role in solving this enigma. The rate at which the accretion disk and jet change direction cannot be accounted for by any known natural phenomena or forces. However, if the black hole is spinning and dragging spacetime with it, a phenomenon known as “frame drag” predicted by Einstein’s theory of relativity, it can explain the directional changes observed in the jet.
Detailed analysis coupled with theoretical supercomputer simulations revealed a slight deviation between the axis of rotation of the black hole and the axis of the accretion disk. This deviation leads to the oscillation observed in the jet, providing substantial evidence that the black hole at the center of the M87 galaxy is indeed rotating. This discovery marks a significant milestone in furthering our understanding of supermassive black holes.
“The excitement surrounding this discovery cannot be overstated,” exclaimed Yuzhu Cui, a postdoctoral researcher at the Zhejiang laboratory who led the research team. “The alignment between the cores of the black hole and the accretion disk may be subtle, but tracking M87’s structural changes with such high-resolution data spanning two decades has allowed us to confirm the rotation of this supermassive black hole.”
Kazuhiro Hada, from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, added, “After capturing the first-ever image of the black hole at the center of the M87 galaxy, the next question for scientists was whether it is rotating. Now, we have definitive proof that this supermassive black hole is indeed in motion.”
This groundbreaking research was made possible through the collaborative efforts of more than 20 telescopes from telescope networks such as the East Asia VLBI Network, the Very Long Baseline Array, the joint KaVA (Korea VLBI Network and the VLBI Exploration of Radio Astrometry), and the Nearly Global network from East Asia to Italy. Over 170 observations were used in this comprehensive study.
Motoki Kino, coordinator of the AGN EAVN Science Working Group at Kogakuin University, remarked, “Our observational data perfectly aligns with the sine curve, providing us with a deeper understanding of jet systems and black holes in a previously unseen perspective.”
As SD, a key member of the East Asian VLBI Network, prepares to join the network with its upcoming 40-meter National Radio Telescope, the research team anticipates an expansion of capabilities that will enable more detailed studies of the M87 black hole. Moreover, this collaboration will accelerate research efforts on active galactic nuclei, a primary research focus of the radio astronomy research team.
“This discovery is another testament to the power of international collaboration,” emphasized Koichiro Sugiyama, a radio astronomer at SD and one of the researchers behind this groundbreaking discovery. “After years of observing together, more than 45 international agencies have finally revealed this scientific breakthrough.”
This unprecedented research not only sheds light on the mysterious properties of black holes but also opens up new avenues for scientific exploration, ultimately deepening our understanding of the universe.
Researcher, National Institute of Astronomical Research (Public Organization) (SDR) joins to use data from the East Asian VLBI Network (EAVN) radio telescope network, of which SDR is one of the members. They found that the direction of the jet changes by about 10 degrees, a cycle with a period of 11 years.
Finding the oscillation of the jet It can be explained byOscillation of spacetime that will happen around a rotating black hole It is important evidence that black holes rotate. The research was published in the journal Nature on September 27, 2023.
central areaa galaxyThere are often supermassive black holes with enormous gravity. Attracts a lot of mass around him. when falling into a black hole massSome of this is thrown out towards the terminals. It is a visible phenomenon called “Jet” It looks like a gas stream. Made of plasma Thrown hundreds to thousands of light years away at near the speed of light.
The mechanism of energy transfer between supermassive black holes, accretion disks and jets has been a great mystery to physicists and astronomers for centuries. Today, the most accepted theory is that Some of the energy that creates a high energy jet can be transferred from a rotating black hole.
Spinning supermassive black hole That’s the key to this process. It has never been directly observed before, so the research team is studying the black hole at the center of the M87 galaxy to find out.
Because this is the first commercial jet object.astrophysicsSince 1918 and the distance is not very far from Earth. This makes it possible to directly observe the area near the black hole where it was formed.A network of remote interfering radio telescopes (Very long baseline intervention: VLBI)
Until it appeared as the “first image” of a black hole from the Hosizon Event Telescope (EHT) in 2019, and most recently, from the analysis of M87 data from VLBI collected over the past 23 years. In the past, a team of researchers discovered “Oscillation of the jet.” This helps reveal important information about the black hole at the center of this galaxy.
Oscillation of the jet This is the key to this mystery. Because of no known phenomenon or force in nature, no force can change the direction of the accretion disk and jet at the rate we observe.
But if the black hole is spinning Can drag spacetime around to spin under a phenomenon called “frame drag” predicted byEinstein’s theory of relativity And if the spacetime in which the accretion disk is located is twisted around It will cause the phenomenon of changing the direction of the accretion disk and the jet.
From detailed analysis and comparison This, together with theoretical supercomputer simulations, shows that the axis of rotation of the black hole is slightly deviated from the axis of the accretion disk. This results in the oscillation of the jet.
The discovery of this oscillation provides important evidence that the black hole at the center of the M87 galaxy is rotating. It led to a new era of trying to understand the nature of supermassive black holes.
“This discovery is very exciting.” Yu Ju Sui said Yuzhu Cui, a postdoctoral researcher at the Zhejiang laboratory who led the research team.
“This is because the cores of the black hole and the accretion disk are only slightly different from each other. But the oscillation period is only 11 years, providing high-resolution data that can track M87’s structural changes over two decades in sufficient detail to lead to this discovery.”
“After EHT captured this image of the black hole at the center of the M87 galaxy, the next question for scientists was: Is this black hole rotating? We now know for sure that this supermassive black hole is actually rotating.” Kazuhiro Hada (Kazuhiro Hada) from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ).
The research used a total of more than 170 observations from telescope networks including the East Asia VLBI Network (EAVN), the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), the joint KaVA (Korea VLBI Network (KVN), and the VLBI Exploration of Radio Astrometry (VERA)) and the Nearly Global network from East Asia to Italy (EATING) have made the discovery by collaborating with more than 20 telescopes around the world.
“This is another great scientific discovery. which was finally revealed After more than 45 international agencies around the world have observed together for many years. and work together as one.”
Kino Motoki (Motoki Kino) of Kogakuin University, coordinator of the AGN EAVN Science Working Group.
“Our observational data fits the sine curve well. This brings us to an understanding of the jet system. and black holes in a new form never seen before.”
For such an international collaboration, SD, one of the main members of EAVN, and Koichiro Sugiyama, a radio astronomer, SD, one of the researchers on the discovery, said that this discovery is exciting. This is another reason why we must study.An active galactic nucleus (Active Galactic Nucleus: AGN), which is one of the main research subjects of the radio astronomy research team.
And in the future ifNational Radio Telescopefrom Thailand, with a diameter of 40 meters which will start operating soon, have joined the EAVN network and are working together. It will help expand the capabilities of the radio telescope network. To be able to study the M87 black hole in more detail. Including helping to accelerate more research on AGN.
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