Supermassive black hole in centre of Milky Way
GS Paper - 3 (Space)
A global team of radio astronomers have unveiled the first image of the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way galaxy. Scientists had previously seen stars orbiting around something invisible, compact, and very massive at the centre of the Milky Way.
- But the image of Sagittarius A (Sgr A) which is about 27,000 light-years away from Earth, produced by a global research team called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration, provides the first direct visual evidence of it.
- While the black hole is not visible, because it is completely dark, glowing gas around it reveals a telltale signature: a dark central region (called a "shadow") surrounded by a bright ring-like structure.
- The new view captures light bent by the powerful gravity of the black hole, which is four million times more massive than our Sun.
- We were stunned by how well the size of the ring agreed with predictions from Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, said EHT Project Scientist said.
- The team had in 2019 released the first image of a black hole, called M87, at the centre of the more distant Messier 87 galaxy.
- They noted that the two black holes look remarkably similar, even though our galaxy's black hole is more than a thousand times smaller and less massive than M87.