Incredible first image of Milky Way’s supermassive black hole unveiled
For the first time ever, scientists have captured images of the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way galaxy.
The supermassive black hole — called Sagittarius A* — is only the second black hole that’s ever been captured in images.
Sagittarius A* is about 26,000 light years or 9.5 trillion kilometres from Earth and possesses four million times the mass of the sun.
EHT Project scientist Geoffrey Bower from the Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Academia Sinica in Taipei says while Saggitarus A* is the largest black hole among our local group of galaxies, it’s far from the largest out there.
“There are some black holes that are even 10,000 times more massive,” he told 3AW Breakfast.
Mr Bower says it took about 12 hours of data to compile the image of the black hole released today.
“It’s a little whirling dervish of a black hole. The gas spins around the black hole as fast as about every 30 minutes,” he said.
“Imagine trying to take a picture of something that’s moving as you’re taking the picture, and then trying to put that into a single picture.
“We worked very hard over the last few years to convince ourselves that we really had indeed taken a high-quality photo and that things weren’t racing around or being distorted by this motion.”
Press PLAY below to hear more about how the image was captured
Have you seen the picture of the black hole at the center of our galaxy?
The image of Sagittarius A* (inset) was taken by @EHTelescope. Now see it in context with support from our @ChandraXray, Swift and NuSTAR observatories. Here’s what the colors mean: https://t.co/Qkt3Qu3v1r pic.twitter.com/BONW7QZhsu
— NASA (@NASA) May 12, 2022
Image: EHT Collaboration