(ORDO NEWS) — Black holes are not always shrouded in darkness. Astronomers have noticed powerful flashes of light erupting from the vicinity of the event horizon of a supermassive black hole, including the black hole at the core of our galaxy.
However, until now, scientists have not been able to identify the exact cause of these outbreaks, only realizing that the outbreaks are somehow related to magnetic fields.
Using computer simulations with unprecedented high resolution, physicists have been able to solve this problem. As it turned out in the course of the study, flares occur due to the energy released in the vicinity of the event horizon of a black hole as a result of the process of magnetic reconnection.
This new simulation, performed using some of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, shows that interactions between a magnetic field and material falling into a black hole’s gravitational vent cause the field to compress, the magnetic lines to straighten, break and reconnect.
The magnetic energy released as a result of this process accelerates the hot plasma particles to speeds close to the speed of light, and these particles fly further either in the direction of the black hole or in the opposite direction, into space.
These particles can then directly radiate some of their kinetic energy in the form of photons and impart additional energy to nearby photons. These high-energy photons are responsible for the mysterious flares seen in black holes.
In this model, a disk of previously falling material is pushed outward by the flares, resulting in a low-density zone around the event horizon. This “clearing” allows astronomers to observe the processes occurring in the immediate vicinity of the black hole’s event horizon, the authors explained.
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