Scientists announced on Thursday the highest-paid black hole simulation, deciding the secret dates back four decades over how monsters eating stars are wasting matter.
They come fresh on the heels of the first picture of one of the giant objects that are scattered throughout the universe, astrophysicists are now a few steps closer to understanding how they form and develop.
A black hole is born when a big star falls to itself. Far from being a "hole", they are, instead, incredibly dense objects with a gravitational pull so strong that nothing, even light, can not escape them.
While they absorb substances like gas, dust, and remnants of space, they form an accretion disk – a blurred mass of super-accelerated particles, which are among the brightest objects in the universe – around them.
It is a accretion disk that can be seen as a blurred halo around the image of a black hole published in April by the Event Horizon telescope.
But the accelerated discs are almost always tilted at an angle of the black hole orientation, known as its equatorial plane.
In 1975, Nobel Prize-winning physicist John Bardin and astrophysicist Jacobs Peterser theorized that the rotating black hole would cause the inner region of the tilted acceleration disc to be positioned with the equatorial plane of the black hole.
But no model could have discovered how exactly this would happen. Until now.
A team of astrophysicists from the University of Northwestern University, Oxford University and the University of Amsterdam, used graphic processing units to hide large data sets and simulated how black holes interact with their acceleration discs.
Of particular importance, their approach has been given to computing power to explain the magnetic turbulence that occurs when different particles are scattered at different speeds in the accretion frame.
It is this electromagnetic effect that causes matter to fall into the center of the black hole.
Alexander Chekhovsky, associate professor of physics and astronomy at Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences of Northwestern, compared the matter that was collected near the black hole to throw an arrow to the board at random.
"If you do not really aim, you will never hit bullseye," he said. "In the same way, when (matter) falls into a black hole there is a certain rotation, but this rotation will have nothing to do with how the black hole is rotated." Both rotations will not know anything about each other. "
"More reliable predictions"
The previous simulations manually predicted the additional friction that the creators needed to make the matter move towards the black hole.
"While now in our model, we do not have to assume this friction," Chekhovski told AFP. "We put in magnetic fields and these actually cause instability which then causes friction and as a result of the disc."
This may seem like a small detail, but it directly affects how quickly black holes rotate and, as a consequence, what effect they have on the galaxies that surround them.
The simulation, which produces a disk with two gas jets and magnetic fields protruding from the center like fountains, shows the inner part of the accelerator disc perfectly aligned with the black hole equator even when the outer part remains at an angle.
"Before now there was concern that when you consider all the complications that come with matter that interacts with a black hole, such as magnetic fields, turbulence on the disk, vital movements – those things can destroy the effect of alignment," said Chekhovsky.
"We found that, no, it does not kill, in fact the internal parts of the disc are aligned with the black hole and now we can safely make predictions about how black holes will look."