A MASSIVE black hole may have flipped its magnetic field, say scientists studying mysterious signals 236 million light-years away.
Researchers say a dip in X-ray emissions over several months in a galaxy called 1ES 1927+654 could prove their theory correct.
“This event is the first time we’ve seen X-rays drop out completely while the other wavelengths brighten,” study leader Sibasish Laha of the University of Maryland said in a NASA statement.
Emissions stopped for a few months before resuming and increasing.
If scientists can confirm that the blip is due to a supermassive black hole at the heart of the galaxy changing its magnetic field, it could help astrophysicists understand how such a change affects the environment, the statement said.
The Milky Way, like most large galaxies, has a supermassive block hole at its center that attracts matter.
The matter first gathers around the black hole in a disk-like formation before heating up and emitting ultraviolet light and X-ray wavelengths as it is pushed inward.
As it gets closer, it forms a cloud of extremely hot particles that scientists call a corona.
The new study suggests these corona particles may have caused X-rays coming from the black hole to temporarily disappear.
If a magnetic flip were to occur, it would cause the north and south poles to swap and increase UV light at the center of the galaxy due to increased heating.
Scientists believe this happens when the corona begins to shrink and the matter orbiting the black hole becomes more compact at the center.
As the flip develops, the field weakens so much that the corona cannot be supported at all, causing X-ray emissions to stop, the researchers suggested.
In October 2018, the center of galaxy 1ES 1927+654 had stopped emitting X-rays for about four months.
When they resurfaced, they emitted X-rays that were present before the eruption.
Two space telescopes tracked changes in UV light and X-rays, including NASA’s Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory and the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton satellite.
Meanwhile, visible-light and radio observations were made from telescopes in Italy, the Canary Islands, and New Mexico.
The study was published in the Astrophysical Journal.
https://www.the-sun.com/tech/5291746/massive-black-hole-flips-magnetic-field/ A massive black hole may have flipped its magnetic field as scientists study mysterious signals 236 million light-years away