Resolved Magnetic Fields Near Sgr A*


 In this artist’s conception, the black hole at the center of our galaxy is surrounded by a hot disk of accreting material. Blue lines trace magnetic fields. The Event Horizon Telescope has measured those magnetic fields for the first time with a resolution of 6 times the size of the event horizon (6 Schwarzschild radii). It found the fields in the disk to be disorderly, with jumbled loops and whorls resembling intertwined spaghetti. The EHT also found regions showing a much more organized pattern, possibly where jets (shown by the narrow yellow streamer) would be generated. Credit: CfA/M. Weiss

In this artist’s conception, the black hole at the center of our galaxy is surrounded by a hot disk of accreting material. Blue lines trace magnetic fields. The Event Horizon Telescope has measured those magnetic fields for the first time with a resolution of 6 times the size of the event horizon (6 Schwarzschild radii). It found the fields in the disk to be disorderly, with jumbled loops and whorls resembling intertwined spaghetti. The EHT also found regions showing a much more organized pattern, possibly where jets (shown by the narrow yellow streamer) would be generated. Credit: CfA/M. Weiss

We have just published our first polarization results using the Event Horizon Telescope! We detected ordered magnetic fields near the event horizon of our Galactic Center supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A*, and we found clear signatures of magnetic turbulence. These results clarify two peculiar properties of supermassive black holes: how they pull matter inward so efficiently and why they are so bright.

You can read our paper on Science or arXiv. You can watch a short talk I gave explaining these results here (aimed toward an audience of professional astronomers).

Here is some coverage of our results:

Here's a terrific cartoon explaining how the Event Horizon Telescope can tell us about magnetic fields near a black hole that's 26,000 light years away:

 This comic illustrates how the Event Horizon Telescope can measure magnetic fields at our galaxy's core. Credit:  Event Horizon Telescope

This comic illustrates how the Event Horizon Telescope can measure magnetic fields at our galaxy's core. Credit: Event Horizon Telescope