First Image of a Supermassive Black Hole in Milky Way Captured


A huge revelation has been done by the astronomers who captured the very first image of a black hole. Surprisingly, the supermassive black hole that has been captured is in our very own milky way galaxy. The hole spotted is a massive one, that too in the middle of the galaxy, and is exerting an undue influence on the stars around.

Fortunately, the first ever photograph of the hole is with the scientists that hold great scientific importance to the world. Sagittarius A*, a supermassive black hole with a mass of 4 million suns, is depicted as the fearsome force at the center of our galaxy.

A network of eight radio observatories in six places across the world obtained the image. The image was further released on Thursday. They constitute the practical equivalent of an Earth-sized telescope. The telescope allows them to glimpse some of the universe’s most fascinating and perplexing phenomena. Taking a picture of a black hole is a unique challenge since nothing can escape its gravitational grasp, including light.

Astronomers may see the event horizon, a ring-shaped boundary that skirts the edge of the black hole’s point of no return. Additionally, beyond it, a golden, gauzy ring of superheated gas and bending light is also present. “What could be more exciting than seeing the black hole at the heart of our own Milky Way?” said Katie Bouman.

Katie is a Caltech computational imaging professor who was part of the international telescope team. The findings were later published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters on Thursday.

What is a Black Hole?

Black Holes are the densest objects wherein a massive star explodes in a spectacular supernova, a tiny clump of matter is created whose gravitational force warps the fabric of space and time. Supermassive black holes are thought to be at the heart of every galaxy, including our own. Although huge in size, they are invisible in the universe, only their influence on the objects around them can be seen.

The Event Horizon Telescope consortium set out to capture a photograph of an object from which no light can escape in 2009. More than 300 scientists and engineers from 80 institutions worldwide collaborated on the project.

It took a decade to photograph the black hole in the center of the Messier 87 galaxy, 55 million light-years away. In comparison, the event horizon of a single sun is almost 25 billion miles wide. Bouman compared it to photographing a grain of salt in New York from Los Angeles.

In the words of Feryal Ozel of the University of Arizona, the black hole is “gentler, more cooperative” than expected. “We adore our abyss. The images provide the best evidence yet for Einstein’s general relativity theory. The size and geometry of the ring encircling the event horizon in Sgr A* are strikingly similar to predictions made by Einstein’s theory.


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