Milky Way’s Black Hole: Astronomers on Thursday released an image of a supermassive black hole lurking at the center of our Milky Way galaxy that devours any matter within its immense gravitational pull. This is the second image of a black hole – called Sagittarius A*, or SgrA* – so far. This feat has been achieved by the same international collaboration of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), which in 2019 released the first picture of a black hole – the center of a different galaxy.
The discovery was announced by the National Science Foundation (NSF), an independent agency of the US government. NSF said, “Our own black hole! Astronomers have uncovered the first image of a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy using the Event Horizon Telescope.” The image was released at six simultaneous news conferences in the US and around the world.
Our own black hole! Astronomers have just revealed the 1st image of the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy using the @ehtelescope– a planet-scale array of radio telescopes that emerged from decades of NSF support. https://t.co/bC1PZH4yD6 #ourblackhole pic.twitter.com/pd96CH3V0m
— National Science Foundation (@NSF) May 12, 2022
The US space agency NASA has congratulated the NSF for this discovery. “Congratulations to the Event Horizon Telescope team for capturing the first image of Sagittarius A*, the black hole at the center of our galaxy!”
— NASA (@NASA) May 12, 2022
Sagittarius A* has four million times the mass of our Sun and is about 26,000 light-years (the distance that light travels in a year) away, 5.9 trillion miles (9.5 trillion km)- away from Earth.
The picture shows a donut-shaped dark and silent space filled with radio emissions. A black hole cannot be seen because even light cannot escape its strong gravitational pull. But the new picture traces its shadow to a bright, hazy ring of light and matter that’s rolling ashore before eventually sinking into oblivion. Astronomers explained, “The diameter of Sagittarius A* is about 17 times that of the Sun.”
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