A ring-like accretion structure in M87 connecting its black hole and jet

Nature. 2023 Apr;616(7958):686-690. doi: 10.1038/s41586-023-05843-w. Epub 2023 Apr 26.


The nearby radio galaxy M87 is a prime target for studying black hole accretion and jet formation1,2. Event Horizon Telescope observations of M87 in 2017, at a wavelength of 1.3 mm, revealed a ring-like structure, which was interpreted as gravitationally lensed emission around a central black hole3. Here we report images of M87 obtained in 2018, at a wavelength of 3.5 mm, showing that the compact radio core is spatially resolved. High-resolution imaging shows a ring-like structure of [Formula: see text] Schwarzschild radii in diameter, approximately 50% larger than that seen at 1.3 mm. The outer edge at 3.5 mm is also larger than that at 1.3 mm. This larger and thicker ring indicates a substantial contribution from the accretion flow with absorption effects, in addition to the gravitationally lensed ring-like emission. The images show that the edge-brightened jet connects to the accretion flow of the black hole. Close to the black hole, the emission profile of the jet-launching region is wider than the expected profile of a black-hole-driven jet, suggesting the possible presence of a wind associated with the accretion flow.

PMID:37100940 | PMC:PMC10132962 | DOI:10.1038/s41586-023-05843-w


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