Supermassive black hole could have completely “flipped” its magnetic field

The Sun reverses its magnetic field every 11 years. Even the Earth experiences magnetic reversals every several hundred thousand years. But these were not thought to be likely in supermassive black holes.

An international investigation involving a team from the Spanish Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC) has provided new evidence of an enigmatic outburst from a galaxy located 216 million light-years away.

This finding proposes a new interpretation based on a spontaneous change of the magnetic poles in the field surrounding its central black hole.

The study used joint data from different satellites and telescopes, including the Telescopio Nacional Galileo (TNG) and the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC), both located at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (Garafía, Spanish island of La Palma).

The results will soon be published in the journal The AstrophysicalJournal, informs the IAC in a statement.

In early March 2018, the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN), an automated program to search for new supernovae and other transient astronomical phenomena, alerted scientists that a galaxy named 1ES 1927+654 had increased in brightness. almost 100 times in visible light.

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A search for earlier detections by the NASA-funded Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) robotic astronomical survey and early warning system showed that the eruption had started months earlier, near the end of 2017.

Three months after the discovery, the galaxy’s X-ray emission disappeared.

“Rapid changes in visible and ultraviolet light have been seen in a few dozen galaxies similar to this one,” explains Sibasish Laha, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Maryland and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in the United States.

But this event, Laha notes, “marks the first time we’ve seen X-rays completely quench while illuminating at other wavelengths.”

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