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Current Affairs

First image of Black Hole at centre of Milky Way

Date: 14 May 2022 Tags: Space

Issue

A group of researchers have revealed the first image of a super-massive black hole at the centre of our own Milky Way galaxy.

 

Background

The black hole has been named as Sagittarius (Sgr) A*. The existence of this object has been assumed since 1974.

 

Details

  • The team of scientists involved in the project is known as the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration.

  • Eight giant radio observatories across the planet were linked to form a single “Earth-sized” virtual telescope called the EHT.

  • The image does not depict Black Hole but the glowing gas that encircles the phenomenon. It is at least 4 million times bigger than the Sun.

 

Presence of Black Hole

  • Astronomers believe that majority of galaxies have these giant black holes at their centre, where light and matter cannot escape.

  • The object in consideration is 27,000 light-years away from us.

 

Challenges

  • Capturing the Sgr A* was more difficult than picturing M87 three years ago even though Sgr A* is much closer to us.

  • This is because of the gas in the vicinity of the black hole that moves nearly as fast as light.

 

Way ahead

Scientists will need to compare the two black holes to test theories about how gasses behave around them.

 

Black hole

  • A black hole is a region of space where matter has collapsed in on itself. The strong gravitational pull does not even allow light to escape.

  • It is created when a star is dying. Since matter is densely packed, it has strong gravity and appears dark.