You are currently viewing Historic image of the Milky Way’s black hole: first real photo of Sagittarius A*

The Event Horizon Telescope (or EHT) project has just shown the world the first image of the black hole that occupies the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way, known as Sagittarius A*. Located 26,000 light years from Earth, it has a mass equivalent to four million suns. Although it is not luminous, the EHT has been able to make it visible thanks to the combination of eight large telescopes spread throughout the Earth and that turn our planet into a huge gigantic eye. Although we can’t see the black hole directly, we do see a bright ring of light around a central shadow.

The international research team, with significant Spanish participation, is the same as in 2019 it already achieved another milestone for science by disseminating the first image of a black hole. At that time it was located in the Messier 87 galaxy and was a supermassive black hole, with a mass of about 7,000 million suns and 55 million light years from our planet. Both then and now what we can actually see is the material near the event horizon, the limit from which the black hole traps everything, including light.

Historical photo: this is the first real image of a black hole

A. Villarreal

Astronomers believe that black holes occupy the center of most galaxies. In this case, the image of this massive object that is in the center of our galaxy, was expected for a long time. Scientists had previously seen stars orbiting something invisible, compact and very massive at the center of the Milky Way. Therefore, they have no doubt that it is a black hole, and the captured image is the first direct visual evidence of it. Because it is so far from Earth, from our perspective its size in the sky is about the size of a donut on the Moon.

“Previous studies, awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2020, had shown that an extremely compact object with a mass four million times greater than our Sun resides at the center of our galaxy. Now, thanks to the EHT, we have been able to obtain the first visual confirmation that this object is, almost certainly, a black hole with properties that are in perfect agreement with Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity”, affirms José Luis Gómez, member of the EHT Scientific Council and leader of the EHT group at the Instituto of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA-CSIC).

In total, more than 300 people from eight research institutes around the world have participated in this finding. A fundamental piece of the EHT project is ALMA, the array of antennas in the Atacama Desert (Chile), which with 66 large antennas is the largest astronomical project in the world. In addition, another observatory from Chile, three from the US (two from Hawaii and one from Arizona), one from Mexico, one located at the South Pole (South Pole TelescopeSPT) and the IRAM Observatory from Granada, which is at the foot of Pico Veleta, the second highest in Sierra Nevada. The mission of each observatory is to detect radio waves coming from the black hole, which scientists transform into data and merge to create the final image.

Already in 2019 we said that the image of a black hole would have been impossible without the ingenuity of the Spanish Iván Martí, a scientist at the University of Valencia. ALMA’s recordings were not compatible with those of the other telescopes because the polarization of light is different in the antennas of the Atacama desert. Scientists considered the need to replace the receivers, which would have been expensive and would have caused years of delay. In addition, sensitivity would have been lost, so that the final result of that first image from the Messier 87 galaxy would have been of poorer quality. However, Martí proposed to change the polarization through software and it worked. Today’s result is also heir to that idea.

(News in development)

The Event Horizon Telescope (or EHT) project has just shown the world the first image of the black hole that occupies the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way, known as Sagittarius A*. Located 26,000 light years from Earth, it has a mass equivalent to four million suns. Although it is not luminous, the EHT has been able to make it visible thanks to the combination of eight large telescopes spread throughout the Earth and that turn our planet into a huge gigantic eye. Although we can’t see the black hole directly, we do see a bright ring of light around a central shadow.

Source

Disclaimer: If you need to update/edit/remove this news or article then please contact our support team Learn more

Then24

The News 24 is the place where you get news about the World. we cover almost every topic so that you don’t need to find other sites.

Leave a Reply