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Astronomers have captured the first image of a black hole at the center of the Milky Way.
On Thursday, astronomers released the first image of the “supermassive black hole” at the galaxy’s center.
“This result provides overwhelming evidence that the object is a black hole and yields valuable clues about the workings of such giants, which are thought to reside at the center of most galaxies,” the scientists said in a press release issued at the European Southern Observatory’s headquarters in Garching, Germany.
A global study team used the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a global array of radio telescopes from Europe to Antarctica to Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean, to acquire an image of the black hole known as Sagittarius A, or (Sgr A).
“Although we can’t see the black hole because it’s completely dark, blazing gas around it displays a telltale signature: a dark center region (dubbed a “shadow”) encircled by a light ring-like structure,” according to the statement.
“The new vision catches light bent by the black hole’s tremendous gravity, which is four million times more massive than our Sun,” the statement continued.
The accomplishment follows the EHT team’s announcement in 2019 of the first-ever photograph of a black hole in the center of the faraway Messier 87 galaxy, dubbed M87*.
Sagittarius A* is approximately 27,000 light years from Earth.