The supermassive black spot in the dark center of the Milky Way galaxy’s Milky Way galaxy has been studied and theorized for years. Finally, an image of it has been taken.
“We have finally had the first look at the Milky Way black hole Sagittarius A*,” announced an international team consisting of astrophysicists, researchers, and the Event Horizon Telescope team on Thursday.
It added, “It’s a dawn of a new black hole physics age.”
The sage ay sometimes refers to the black hole. According to MIT, its mass is approximately 4 million times greater than the sun, and it’s located about 27,000 light-years from Earth.
Black holes have been a long-standing fascination. However, they pose a challenge to researchers because of the strong effects they have on their environment.
Sgr A* is the latest example of previously discovered stars that orbit the center of the Milky Way. They now have a direct view of Feryal Ozel (a professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona), calling the “gentle giant.”
The team stated that if you were to view the black hole from Earth, it would look like a donut on a moon.
Ozel stated that the complex environment of Sgr. A* made it more difficult. “Ozel also spoke of the difficulties of seeing not only through our atmosphere but also through the gas clouds of the galaxy’s disk towards the center. Although it took many years to refine and confirm our image, we won.
The effort to capture the image involved more than 300 researchers, who compiled information from radio observatories all over the globe. Scientists used observations made in April 2017 by eight observatories to obtain the image.
The EHT team announced that they could not see the black hole because it was dark. However, the glowing gas surrounding it revealed a signature. It was a dark region (called a “shadow”), surrounded by a bright structure.
Thursday morning, the researchers announced the news at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Still, simultaneously, it was released worldwide in a series of news conferences held in Mexico City, Shanghai, Tokyo, and other cities.
“We were shocked by how closely the size of this ring matched Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity predictions,” stated Geoffrey Bower from the Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics of Academia Sinica, Taipei.
This discovery is three years after the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration released the first-ever photograph of a black hole. However, that work was focused on galaxy Messier 87 at tens to millions of light-years from Earth in the Virgo Cluster of galaxies.
Ozel commented on the similarities between a dark shadow and a bright ring image.
She said that the black holes were very different. For one, the black hole in the Milky Way isn’t quite as greedy.
She said that the one in M87 was accumulating matter at an even faster rate than Sgr. A*. “Perhaps even more important, the one at M87 launches an extremely powerful jet that extends to the galaxy’s edge. Our black hole does not.”