Paris, France (AFP) May 12, 2022 An international team of astronomers on Thursday unveiled the...
An international team of astronomers on Thursday unveiled the first image of a supermassive black hole at the centre of our own Milky Way galaxy - a cosmic body known as Sagittarius A*. The image - produced by a global team of scientists known as the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration - is the first, direct visual confirmation of the presence of this invisible object, and comes three years after the very first image of a black hole from a distant galaxy.
The image thus depicts not the black hole itself, because it is completely dark, but the glowing gas that encircles the phenomenon - which is four million times more massive than our Sun - in a bright ring of bending light.
Bower also said in a statement provided by the French National Centre for Scientific Research that the observations had offered "New insights on how these giant black holes interact with their surroundings".
Though the presence of a black hole was thought to be the only plausible explanation, the new image provides the first direct visual proof.
The EHT gazed at Sgr A* across multiple nights for many hours in a row - a similar idea to long-exposure photography and the same process used to produce the first image of a black hole, released in 2019.
Moving target - The two black holes bear striking similarities, despite the fact that Sgr A* is 2,000 times smaller than M87*. "Close to the edge of these black holes, they look amazingly similar," said Sera Markoff, co-chair of the EHT Science Council, and a professor at the University of Amsterdam.
Scientists are now eager to compare the two black holes to test theories about how gasses behave around them - a poorly understood phenomenon thought to play a role in the formation of new stars and galaxies.
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter$5+ Billed Monthly SpaceDaily Contributor $5 Billed Once credit card or paypal NASA's Swift tracks potential magnetic flip of monster black hole Greenbelt MD May 06, 2022.
A rare and enigmatic outburst from a galaxy 236 million light-years away may have been sparked by a magnetic reversal, a spontaneous flip of the magnetic field surrounding its central black hole.
In a comprehensive new study, an international science team links the eruption's unusual characteristics to changes in the black hole's environment that likely would be triggered by such a magnetic switch.