The first-ever image of Sagittarius A*, the black hole at the center of our universe, was unveiled by scientists on May 12.
The event horizon of a black hole in the constellation Sagittarius A* was captured by the event horizon telescope, which is a planet-wide array of telescopes. The image is above.
The image was taken in submillimeter radio waves, revealing there is indeed a black hole embedded in the heart of the Milky Way, eating on any hydrogen gas available. The image was also a massive technological breakthrough after years of attempting to capture Sgr A*, which is much smaller than M87.
Click the arrows above to learn more about how the black hole discovery was made.
Sagittarius A* is a black hole located at the center of our spiral galaxy. Astronomers found that Sagittarius A* has a mass 4.3 million times that of the sun.
The black hole is larger than the Milky Way. The black hole's diameter is around 2 million kilometers, but the Milky Way is 100,000 light-years wide and 1,000 light-years thick.
Black holes are being imaged by the event horizon telescope collaboration. Scientists and engineers are working with telescopes around the world. Data collection and processing, data analysis, products, publications and other specialties are included in working groups.
The boundary of a black hole is referred to as the event horizon in the name of the Telescope. Einstein believes black holes have a zone of no escape.
The South Pole, the United States, Mexico and Chile are some of the places where the EHT uses radio telescopes to image black holes. At the same time, the observatories look at the same target and collect data in slightly different formats. This observing technique allows the telescopes to act like a large telescope that magnifies distant and dim objects.
Telescopes use atomic clocks to stay in sync. The maser beams are fired at hydrogen gas. Since hydrogen gas wobbles, it's possible to calculate the swing of a pendulum in old-fashioned grandfather clocks. The hydrogen maser clock loses 1 second every 100 million years.
The silhouette of the black hole was captured by the EHT in 2019. The black hole creates a lot of radiation because of the gas trapped in it. The black hole's radiation is invisible since it is beyond the horizon.
The light surrounding the black hole is reflected by its magnetic fields. A black hole has hot and magnetic environments. The light has different orientations and brightness.
The emission in the ring is most certainly produced by magnetic fields that are very close to the event horizon, according to the view that the EHT polarimetry working group has.
Tools and models were used to measure the properties that were observed in the environment of Sgr A*. The black hole's image was announced on May 12, 2022, and Michael Johnson, a Harvard and Smithsonian astrophysicist, told reporters that they developed more simplified models.
The approach gives us a different perspective and lets us understand the biases of both methods.
They worked with the models in two different ways. To fit the data to snapshots of the black hole in action, the first thing was to divide the data by time. The model was averaged out.
The second model wanted to fit all the data at the same time. By combining all of the different approaches, we were able to understand the properties of the ring.
Both Sgr A* and M87 had their own challenges in the field of astronomy, notedVincent Fish, an EHT team member who is also a research scientist astronomer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He told reporters that Sgr A* is much smaller and much more variable than M87.
Sgr A* is blocked by a lot of dust in our own galaxy, making it more difficult to see through all the material. Astronomers have been able to partially mitigate the effects of this blurring thanks to years of observations at other wavelengths.
More science is being produced by EHT. Scientists have been aiming to do the first high-resolution movies since at least 2019.
Fish told reporters on May 12, 2022, that they hope to be able to switch into what they callagile observing. The goal is to have the new telescopes in place by about 2024.
The data has to be processed and who knows what kind of techniques will have to be developed for that movie. It will come a few years after that.
A week of remote observations was planned for EHT's campaign in 2022. In March, the EHT suggested they would look at objects that were embedded with black holes.
Scientists said in March that Sgr A* was a potential observing target and that they would return to M87. Officials used remote observing techniques as a safety measure.
The next generation of black hole imagery could be produced in space. The European Space Agency and others would like to place two to three satellites around our planet in 2019.
The event horizon imager is their concept. The distance between individual radio telescopes can be expanded beyond what the Earth can provide. Black holes can be more detailed in the future with more distance in theory.
Check out our black holes reference guide and look at where black holes lead to. We looked at white holes, the opposite of black holes, and how black holes have impacted video games. If you want to see how strange black holes really are, you might want to read Stephen Hawking's most far-out ideas.