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The First Picture of the Black Hole at the Milky Way's Heart Has Been Revealed

12.05.2022 03:42 PM
The First Picture of the Black Hole at the Milky Way's Heart Has Been Revealed
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The First Picture of the Black Hole at the Milky Way's Heart Has Been Revealed
From inside the headquarters of the European Southern Observatory, a team of astronomers unveiled the first image of a supermassive black hole in the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way, which provides compelling evidence that the body is indeed a black hole and provides valuable clues about the way such giant planets work, which It is believed to be at the center of most galaxies. Three years after the publication of the first image of a black hole located in the distant galaxy Messier 87.

Scientists used a global network of radio telescopes, and named it "Sagitarias A". Scientists have previously seen stars orbiting an invisible, compact and very massive object at the center of the Milky Way. The image, which was shown today, "Thursday", May 12, provides the first direct visual evidence of the existence of a supermassive black hole in the "Milky Way".

Although we cannot see the black hole itself, because it is completely dark, the glowing gas around it reveals a “dark central region (called the shadow) surrounded by a bright ring-like structure. The new view captures the light that is bent by the black hole’s strong gravity, which is about Four million times the mass of our sun,” scientists announced in a press conference today.

The discovery of this image is part of the Event Horizon Telescope project, an international cooperation project that aims to create a large system of telescopes that includes a global network of radio telescopes in addition to collecting data from many long-range interferometry (VLBI) stations. around the earth. The project aims to monitor both the supermassive black hole located in the center of the Milky Way, as well as the giant black hole in the Messier 87 galaxy. The study was published in a special issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

“We were astonished by how well the ring size matched the predictions of Einstein’s theory of general relativity,” says Jeffrey Bauer, an astronomer at Academia Sinica, the largest institute for astronomy and astrophysics in Taiwan. It helps us understand what is happening at the center of our galaxy, and provides insights into New information about how these giant black holes interact with their surroundings.

Since the black hole is about 27,000 light-years away from Earth, it appears to us that its size in the sky is the same as the size of a "donut on the moon". So; The researchers needed to connect eight radio observatories deployed in different parts of the world so that they would work in parallel - as if they were one hypothetical telescope the size of Earth - to observe the black hole.

The researchers worked over a period of 5 years, starting in 2017, specifically when scientists were able to record the light emitted by glowing electrons attracted around Sagittarius "A", a mass equivalent to four million times the size of the sun and suspected to be a black hole. And in order to develop a clear picture of the corona surrounding the black hole. During that work trip, they concluded that the size of this aura matches the expectations of the late Albert Einstein within his famous theory of relativity. Scientists seek to turn those captured images into a "film."

And according to what scientists made available today, the image captured of what they described as the “beautiful giant sitting in the heart of the Milky Way”, represents “a picture of a black hole of enormous mass that devours any material that falls within its gravitational range.”

The captured image presented today crowns the efforts of more than 300 astronomers who were interested in tracking the first signals emitted by the "Milky Way", the name given to the galaxy that includes the sun, Earth and the rest of the solar system, 48 years ago, specifically in 1974. These are the efforts that It went on until an international team announced on April 10, 2019 the first real image of a black hole located in the heart of the Messier 87 galaxy. It was captured by a global network of telescopes stretching from China to the USA, passing through Japan, Chile, Belgium and Taiwan. It was considered at the time as "a great moment that revealed to mankind something that had been invisible for decades."

The main idea of black holes dates back to the eighteenth century, when the famous English scientist “Isaac Newton” and the French astronomer “Pierre Laplace” proved the particle nature of light, and based on that idea, light is made up of particles that can accumulate on the surfaces of stars, forming a mass that increases the attractiveness of black holes. The star.

Then Einstein came in the twentieth century to say that the assumptions of "Newton" and "Laplace" mean that stars can turn into what is known as black holes, and in 1917, the scientist "Karl Schwarzschild" developed a set of equations that describe the state that can be When a star becomes a critical size and increases in density and gravitational force, it becomes a black hole.
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