May 13, 2022
At first glance, the image looks like just a fuzzy splash of color. In reality it’s something far more powerful. The photo is the first image of a huge black hole at the center of the Milky Way. The Milky Way is our galaxy.
The astronomers who work with the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) took the photo. EHT is a global network of eight observatories across the world. The photo was released on Thursday.
“It is the first direct image of the gentle giant in the center of our galaxy,” said one astronomer.
Black holes are areas in space where gravity is so strong that nothing can get out of them. That includes particles, radiation, and light. They are invisible. The holes, though, can be found with special telescopes. They can capture light coming from the magnetic fields that surround the black holes. Scientists say most black holes are created when very large stars collapse upon themselves. They also believe black holes can be found at the center of every large galaxy.
The Milky Way black hole is named Sagittarius A*. That's because it's near the constellation with the same name. It was first detected decades ago. Scientists had discovered something sending out a lot of radiation at the center of the galaxy. This black hole is four million times bigger than the sun.
The photo is the second one EHT has released since launching in 2006.
The first picture was shared in 2019. It showed a black hole from the Messier 87 galaxy. Messier 87 is 53.5 million light years away.
Photo from Reuters.