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A supermassive black hole is actually losing energy instead of gobbling it all up, new research shows

Sonam Sheth   

A supermassive black hole is actually losing energy instead of gobbling it all up, new research shows
  • Scientists have obtained the first ever proof that black holes can lose energy.
  • They've long believed that magnetic fields could suck energy out of black holes but didn't have proof — until now.

Scientists have long believed that black holes, which generally swallow up everything around them, can also lose energy.

But they didn't have proof — until now.

A new study published this month found that the M87 supermassive black hole is emitting huge amounts of energy thanks to its magnetic field.

Alexandru Lupsasca, a co-author of the study, said the outflow jets "are basically like million-light-year-long Jedi lightsabers" and can be 10 times longer than the Milky Way galaxy.

George Wong, the other co-author, said: "If you took the Earth, turned it all into TNT and blew it up 1,000 times a second for millions and millions of years, that's the amount of energy that we're getting out of M87."

Space.com noted that Albert Einstein's theory of relativity predicted that black holes can lose energy and scientists have believed since the 1970s that magnetic fields can extract energy from black holes.

But they didn't know how until now.

M87 was famous in the scientific community even before this; it was the first black hole ever imaged, and a team of scientists from 20 countries worked for more than a decade to produce the photo.


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