Astronomers confirm black hole inside Milky Way

02 November, 2018, 19:54 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • The Center of the Milky Way

Never-before-seen images offer fresh evidence that a supermassive black hole lurks at the centre of the Milky Way. According Oxford University's Josephine Peters, these recent observations are a breakthrough in the ongoing study of black holes: "Astronomers have observed material as close as you can get to a black hole without being consumed by it", Peters told Business Insider.

Specialist equipment was used to take a close look at the infrared radiation coming from the accretion disc around Sagittarius A*, the massive object at the heart of the Milky Way.

Observations of the flares have only been made only possible due to the impressive light collecting power from four telescopes, that are drawn together in one instrument to create a virtual super-telescope 130 metres in diameter; GRAVITY. Flash in the infrared spectrum indicated scientists to the fact that the gas rotates around the event horizon of a black hole.

In addition, they've identified a new piece of black hole anatomy-the ISCO, or "innermost stable circular orbit", which is an area just beyond the event horizon.

Scientists have shown a black hole in the center of the milky Way, zoom which managed with the help of a supersensitive receiver ESO GRAVITY.

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Following up on the serendipitous discovery, the astronomers saw the three flares move in small 45-minute orbits, and the polarization of their light rotated full circle in the same period.

"We were closely monitoring S2, and of course we always keep an eye on Sagittarius A*".

"It's overwhelming to actually be a witness as Material to a supermassive black hole runs with 30 percent of the speed of light around", said scientists Oliver Pfuhl, Max-Planck-Institute for extraterrestrial physics (MPE) in Garching near Munich. "During our observations, we were lucky enough to notice three bright flares from around the black hole - it was a lucky coincidence!" "GRAVITY's tremendous sensitivity has allowed us to observe the accretion processes in real time in unprecedented detail".

This is, as stated at the European southern Observatory (ESO), has become a "resounding confirmation" of the theoretical assumptions of the existence of galactic giant, also known as "Sagittarius A".


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