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NASA released the first image ever taken of our Galaxy’s supermassive black hole. This marks the second image of a black hole ever taken by the Event Horizon Telescope team, releasing the first image of one in 2019. It is called M87 which is located 53 million light-years away from us. Sagittarius A is the name of the Milky Way is where the supermassive black hole located in the center of Earth’s galaxy.
Providing definitive visual evidence for what lies at the center of our Milky Way. “For decades, astronomers have wondered what lies at the heart of our galaxy, pulling stars into tight orbits through its immense gravity,” Michael Johnson, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, stated. This project has taken half a decade to catch an image and receive confirmation Prior to this, scientists’ reference points were the observation of stars orbiting around a massive invisible object.
The team that brought this all together is comprised of 80 unique institutions and over 300 scientists from around the world. Earth’s Solar System rests on one of the spiral armbands in our galaxy, the black hole is located about 27,000 light-years from our planet. If it were possible to witness the black hole, it would appear the size of a doughnut resting on the moon.
Future plans to expand the optics of telescopes, upgrading the infrastructure to provide even more high-quality captures of space. The photo shows the light bending around a dark inner center circle, showing how black holes “swallow” gases near it with their powerful gravitational field.
The black hole is 4 million times greater in size compared to our sun and is located near the constellations of Sagittarius and Scorpius. Most all astronomers believe that almost all of the galaxies as well as our own in the universe contain a black hole at the center in which neither light nor matter can escape. This makes it very difficult to capture an image since light and gas twist and bent around the black hole and ultimately absorbed into it.
“This image is a testament to what we can accomplish when as a global research community, we bring our brightest minds together to make the seemingly impossible, possible,” National Science Foundation Director Sethuraman Panchanathan stated. “Language, continents, and even the galaxy can’t stand in the way of what humanity can accomplish when we come together for the greater good of all.” The University of Arizona and member of EHT Science Council professor Feryal Özel, of astronomy and physics as well associate dean of research said during a press conference.
Written by Skye Leon
Edited by Sheena Robertson
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