Astronomers reveal Milky Way's giant black hole
Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) at the center of our galaxy was observed by earth-sized Multiple telescopes, Multiple Radio astronomy telescopes combined EHT (Event Horizon telescope) and simultaneously with X-ray Observatories
May 12, 2022 At simultaneous press conferences around the world, including at a National Science Foundation-sponsored press conference at the US National Press Club in Washington, D.C., astronomers have unveiled the first image of the supermassive black hole at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy.
"Until now, we didn't have the direct picture to prove that this gentle giant in the center of our galaxy is a black hole," Feryal Özel, an astrophysicist at the University of Arizona, said during a National Science Foundation news conference held Thursday (May 12). "It shows a bright ring surrounding the darkness, and the telltale sign of the shadow of the black hole."
The effort was made possible through the ingenuity of more than 300 researchers from 80 institutes around the world that together make up the EHT Collaboration. In addition to developing complex tools to overcome the challenges of imaging Sgr A*, the team worked rigorously for five years, using supercomputers to combine and analyze their data, all while compiling an unprecedented library of simulated black holes to compare with the observations.
This image of Sagittarius A*, and of the black hole in M87 before it, has been made possible through the magic of a technique known as Very Long Baseline Interferometry, which allows astronomers to combine data from radio telescopes all across the world as though they were one large telescope, effectively making the EHT the largest telescope on Earth.