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Black Hole Image of Sagittarius A* Unveiled by Scientists, From the Centre of the Milky Way Galaxy

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****** ***** Image of Sagittarius A* Unveiled by Scientists, From the Centre of the Milky Way Galaxy

Scientists on Thursday provided the first look at the monster lurking at the centre of our Milky Way galaxy, unveiling an image of a supermassive ****** ***** that devours any matter wandering within its gargantuan gravitational pull.

The ****** ***** — called Sagittarius A, or SgrA — is only the second one ever to be imaged. The feat was accomplished by the same Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) international collaboration that in 2019 unveiled the first-ever photo of a ****** ***** – that one residing at the heart of a different galaxy.

Sagittarius A* possesses 4 million times the mass of our sun and is located about 26,000 light-years — the distance light travels in a year, 5.9 trillion miles (9.5 trillion km) — from Earth.

****** holes are extraordinarily dense objects with gravity so strong that not even light can escape, making viewing them quite challenging. A ****** *****’s event horizon is the point of no return beyond which anything — stars, planets, gas, dust and all forms of electromagnetic radiation — gets dragged into oblivion.

Project scientists have looked for a ring of light — super-heated disrupted matter and radiation circling at tremendous speed at the edge of the event horizon — around a region of darkness representing the actual ****** *****. This is known as the ****** *****’s shadow or silhouette.

The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy that contains at least 100 billion stars. Viewed from above or below it resembles a spinning pinwheel, with our sun situated on one of the spiral arms and Sagittarius A* located at the centre.

The image released in 2019 of the supermassive ****** ***** in a galaxy called Messier 87, or M87, showed a glowing ring of red, yellow and white surrounding a dark centre. The M87 ****** ***** is far more distant and massive than Sagittarius A*, situated about 54 million light-years from Earth with a mass 6.5 billion times that of our sun.

The researchers said that Sagittarius A*, despite being much closer to our solar system than M87, was ******* to image.

The diameter of Sagittarius A* is about 17 times that of the sun, meaning it would sit within the innermost planet Mercury’s solar orbit. In contrast, M87’s diameter would encompass the entirely of our solar system.

“Sagittarius A* is over a thousand times less massive than the ****** ***** at M87, but since it is in our own galaxy it is much closer and should appear just slightly larger on the sky,” said radio astronomer Lindy Blackburn, an EHT data scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

“However the smaller physical size of Sgr A also means that everything changes about a thousand times faster for Sgr A than M87. We must also peer through the messy disk of our own galaxy to view Sgr A*, which blurs and distorts the image,” Blackburn added.

The Event Horizon Telescope is a global network of observatories working collectively to observe radio sources associated with ****** holes. The project was begun in 2012 to try to directly observe the immediate environment of a ****** *****.

There are different categories of ****** holes. The smallest are so-called stellar-mass ****** holes formed by the collapse of massive individual stars at the ends of their life cycles. There also are intermediate-mass ****** holes, a step up in mass. And finally there are the supermassive ****** holes that inhabit the centre of most galaxies. These are thought to arise relatively soon after their galaxies are formed, devouring enormous amounts of material to achieve colossal size.

Thursday’s announcement was made in simultaneous news conferences in the ******* States, Germany, China, Mexico, Chile, Japan and Taiwan.

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