Supermassive Black Hole at Center of Milky Way Galaxy Imaged for First Time with Event Horizon Telescope

Supermassive Black Hole Center Milky Way Galaxy Event Horizon Telescope
Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, has been imaged for the first time by a research team using the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). Despite not being able to see the the black hole itself due to it being completely dark, we do see the glowing gas around, which reveals a a dark central region (shadow) surrounded by a bright ring-like structure.

Since Sgr A* is approximately 27,000 light-years away from Earth, it would appears to be about the same size in the sky as a doughnut on the Moon. Imaging it required the team to create the powerful EHT, which linked together eight existing radio observatories across the planet to form a single “Earth-sized” virtual telescope. This powerful telescope then observed Sgr A* on multiple nights in 2017, collecting data for many hours in a row. To put it into perspective, Sgr A* is many times larger than this mid-sized black hole.


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Supermassive Black Hole Center Milky Way Galaxy Event Horizon Telescope

We were stunned by how well the size of the ring agreed with predictions from Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity. These unprecedented observations have greatly improved our understanding of what happens at the very centre of our galaxy, and offer new insights on how these giant black holes interact with their surroundings,” said Geoffrey Bower, EHT Project Scientist from the Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Academia Sinica, Taipei.

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