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Milky Way: First image of a black hole

Milky Way: First image of a black hole

The black hole at the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way, has been imaged for the first time. The image presented on Thursday actually shows the surroundings of the supermassive black hole, because the objects themselves are inherently invisible. Recording made possible through notes with event horizon telescope (EHT), a consortium of eight radio observatories on four continents in a type of super telescope.

The image of the massive monster at the center of the Milky Way is only the second image ever of a black hole. Shows a dark central area surrounded by a circular, shiny structure. Previously, only illustrations of the black hole at the center of the Milky Way were seen in books and illustrations.

It is believed that the black hole rotates

This is heavily involved in EHT Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) in Bonn. The The results of their observations Presentation of researchers in a special issue of the specialized journal “Astrophysical Journal Letters”. The image of Sagittarius A* fits well with Albert Einstein’s general relativity predictions for a black hole four million times the mass of our Sun. The hole is probably spinning.

One working in German-French-Spanish cooperation also took part in the measurements Institute of Radio Astronomy in the Millimeter Scale (IRAM) works with the 30-meter telescope in Spain and the NOEMA interferometer in France.

Completely new ways of evaluating

In 2019, EHT researchers The first picture It appears in the immediate vicinity of the black hole at all – it is also a glowing ring with a dark center. The largest and most massive black hole was at the center of galaxy M87, about 55 million light-years away.

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Although the black hole at the center of the Milky Way is much closer to Earth at a distance of about 27,000 light-years, the observations proved difficult. “The radiation from the black hole in M87 is constant for hours,” he says. Anton’s census from MPIfR in Bonn, one of the main initiators of the EHT project. On the other hand, the object in the center of the galaxy changes in just a few minutes. So we had to develop completely new methods of evaluation.”

Practically invisible

Astronomers believe that there is a black hole at the center of most galaxies. Because of their enormous mass, black holes do not allow light to escape, which makes them almost invisible. However, before being pulled into the black hole, the material heats up intensely and then glows brightly, and this distinctive glow can be seen in the images in a reddish color.

The name “Event Horizon Telescope” refers to the ability to optically penetrate the event horizon of a black hole – the limit beyond which light cannot escape the black hole and the hole appears black.