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A black hole in the center of our galaxy: a historical image taken 27,000 light-years from Earth

A black hole in the center of our galaxy: a historical image taken 27,000 light-years from Earth

Astronomers have released the first image of a giant black hole in the center of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. This result provides irrefutable evidence that the object is in fact a black hole and provides valuable clues about the activity of these giants, which are thought to be at the center of most galaxies.

The film is historically significant. Based on the observations of the World Wide Web Network of Radio Telescopes, the event was produced by a global research team called the Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration. This image is a long-awaited view of a massive object sitting in the center of our galaxy.

Scientists have previously observed stars orbiting an invisible, compact and very large object in the center of the Milky Way. This strongly suggests that this object, called Sagittarius A (Sgr A), is a black hole, and that today’s image provides the first direct visual evidence of this.

Although it is not possible to see the black hole, as it is completely dark, the glowing gas around it exhibits a characteristic signature: a dark central region (called the “shadow”) is surrounded by a brilliant structure in the form of a ring. . The The new image captures light diverted by the black hole’s powerful gravitational pull, Q. WhoFour million times larger than our sun.

Earth-sized telescope

“We were amazed at how well the size of the ring matched Einstein’s predictions of general relativity,” said Jeffrey Bower, EHT project scientist at the Astronomical Institute and the Department of Astrophysics at the Academy Sinica in Taipei. “These unprecedented observations have dramatically improved our understanding of what is going on at the center of our galaxy, and provide new insights into how these giant black holes interact with their environment.”

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The black hole is about 27,000 light years away from EarthIt seems to be in the sky Size equal to the donut on the moon. To film it, the team created the powerful EHT, a virtual “earth-sized” telescope that combines eight existing radio monitors across the planet. EHT observed Sgr A for several nights, collecting data for several hours at a time, much like the long exposure time on a camera.

The first black hole was discovered in 2019 in another galaxy

This development follows the first image of a black hole released in 2019, at the center of the farthest galaxy Messier 87, called M87. The two black holes are remarkably similar, even though the number of our galaxies is a thousand times greater. Smaller and less large than the M87.

“We have two completely different types of galaxies and two different black hole masses, but near the edge of these black holes they are miraculously identical,” said Sera Markoff, co-chair of the EHT Science Council and professor of astronomy. University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. “It tells us that general relativity manages these objects closely, and that there must be any differences we can see in the distance due to differences in matter around the black holes.”