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Welcome To The Center Of The Galaxy!

Principled Man

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Astronomers on Thursday unveiled the first image of a supermassive black hole that roils the center of our galaxy, its gravity so powerful that it bends space and time and forms a glowing ring of light with eternal darkness at the core.


The black hole, seen from Earth near the constellation Sagittarius, has a mass equal to more than 4 million suns. The new image shows it with three bright spots along a ring that, to the surprise of the scientists, tilts face-on toward the Earth.






By the standards of other supermassive black holes, the scientists said, the one at the heart of our Milky Way is relatively calm — as quiescent as something that gobbles stars and reaches temperatures measured in the trillions of degrees can possibly be.  [The Washington Post]






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The irony is that, because of the nature of black holes, the image isn't terribly impressive on its face. That's just how hard it is to take a picture of something that sucks in light.

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This was so cool!  I have learned a lot about it today, to the amusement of my family :biggrin: :biggrin:  Hey, the only stupid question is the one you don't ask., but if Rush Didact ever reads this he can laugh; he does meteorological stuff at the North Pole. 


I somehow got through high school and college without ever taking a physics or astronomy course or anything close, so I was wondering how they took the photo?  Why didn't the black hole suck in the photographic device?  :aliendance:  


OK, so I read a lot today and learned something so I am satisfied!  :thumbsup:  The image is actually a representation of radio waves. The radio light was so faint, they had to use radio telescopes located across the planet. The array of telescopes is called the event horizon telescope experiment.The EHT is able to see light, in the form of radio waves, from hot gas swirling around the edge of the event horizon. The black hole was Imaged from telescopes in different countries and at different angles to get the best data.  It took years to collect enough data to put together the image.  


I was glad to read this.  When we lived in Utah, our next door neighbor was a big physicist at the University and he was in charge of a similar telescope way out in the desert.  I didn't quite understand the whole thing then (not sure I totally do now) but at least we can see the results. Very cool!

Edited by blueschica
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