Black holes are often viewed as massive, light-eating giants. Even supermassive black hole, which are the gravitational sinkholes at the center galaxies of the galaxy, can come in a variety of sizes. Consider M87*, located in the middle of the Messier 87 galaxies. It is 6 billion times larger than the sun. You could also look at Sgr A* at the center the Milky Way, and it is only ( only). 4 million times larger than the sun Supermassive black hole sizes are small.
Its size was partly the reason why Event Horizon Telescope was able to capture the first ever image of a blackhole in the world. This feat was achieved in 2017 and was instantly hailed as a breakthrough for astronomy when it was made public in 2019. After years of hard work, the portrait was the culmination of many years of observation using only a few observatories around Earth that functioned as one telescope. Scientists were able to see the dark shadow cast by Messier-87’s dark heart. This was only the beginning.
Astrophysicists didn’t intend to stop at one black hole. Then, they turned their attention to a supermassive black spot, approximately 100 times smaller than M87* and located at the center of Centaurus A, a nearby galaxy. Astrophysicists used the same technique to capture M87*. Now they can image a powerful jet ejecting from Centaurus A’s black hole with ultra-high resolution. This will reveal more about these mysterious phenomena.
Michael Janssen (astrophysicist at Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, Bonn, Germany) said that the EHT’s primary objective is to image black hole. He was also the lead author of the study. But the black holes we are studying are what launch jets. We need to know how these jets are made in order to fully comprehend black holes.
These focused, narrow beams of plasma transport energy from small scales near the black hole (whose diameter is smaller than our solar system’s) and deposit it into the surrounding environment at much larger scales,” said James Miller-Jones (an astrophysicist at Curtin University, Australia) and member of ICRAR. Miller-Jones claims that jets can influence the evolution of the galaxy or the cluster. Astronomers are eager to learn more about them.
Janssen and his colleagues are just one example of such astronomers. To see how the jets function near the black hole, they wanted to zoom in. It was possible thanks to the EHT.