FP TrendingMay 10, 2022 14:22:41 IST
A black hole may have reversed its magnetic field, causing a rare and enigmatic outburst that was captured by satellites. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the magnetic flip took place at the 1ES 1927+654, a galaxy 236 million light-years away.
A magnetic flip happens when the South Pole becomes the North and vice versa.
A statement by the scientists described this unusual celestial phenomenon. In March 2018, the galaxy had brightened almost 100 times in visible light, months after the eruption occurred in 2017. The UV emission of the galaxy rose 12 times, but further data showed that it was actually declining, indicating an unobserved peak earlier. In June 2018, the galaxy’s higher-energy X-ray emissions stopped.
Watch the video by NASA explaining the happenings:
The emissions resumed in October the same year, indicating that a magnetic flip had taken place. By summer 2021, the emissions were back to their original levels.
What does this mean?
The Milky Way and most other large galaxies have a supermassive black hole embedded at its centre, which pulls matter in toward it. The matter first collects in an accretion disc as it surrounds the black hole. The matter then heats up, emitting visible, ultraviolet and X-ray light as it is pushed inwards.
It forms a cloud of extremely hot particles (corona) as it pushes inwards. The new study by NASA suggests that changes in the corona caused the X-Rays streaming from the heart of galaxy 1ES 1927+654 to temporarily stop.
As the magnetic flip occurs, the field becomes weak and unable to support the corona, which can lead to X-Ray emissions disappearing. The magnetic field later strengthens in its new orientation
According to Sibasish Laha, a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland and the University of Maryland, “This event marks the first time we’ve seen X-rays dropping out completely while the other wavelengths brighten.”
As per scientists, the black hole’s magnetic field creates and sustains the corona, so its X-ray properties can be affected by any change in the magnetic field. This unprecedented event will help researchers understand more about black holes.