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This is the first image of the massive black hole that resides in the center of our galaxy.

Black Hole: First photo of monster blackhole in our galaxy

The object, known as Sagittarius A*, is four million times the mass of our Sun. The light originating from super-heated gas driven by huge gravitational forces circles the central dark region where the black hole lies. The ring is about the same size as Mercury’s orbit around our star.

This is approximately 60 million kilometers (40 million miles) wide. Fortunately, this monster is 26,000 light-years distant, so there’s no way we’ll ever come close to being in danger. The image was created by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration, an international group.

It’s their second such image, following a photo of a massive black hole at the center of another galaxy known as Messier 87, or M87, released in 2019. At 6.5 billion times the mass of our Sun, that object was over a thousand times larger. Prof Heino Falcke, one of the European pioneers behind the EHT project, said, “But this new image is remarkable because it’s our supermassive black hole.”

“This is in our backyard,” the German-Dutch physicist from Radboud University Nijmegen told BBC News. “If you want to understand black holes and how they work, this is the one that will teach you since we see it in meticulous detail.”

The image is a technical masterpiece. It has to be that way.

Sagittarius A, or Sgr A for short, is a small pinprick in the sky at a distance of 26,000 light-years from Earth. It takes tremendous resolution to detect such a target. A technique known as extremely long baseline array interferometry is used by the EHT (VLBI).

In essence, a network of eight widely dispersed radio antennas is used to simulate a telescope the size of our world. The EHT can cut an angle in the sky that is measured in microarc seconds thanks to its setup. Members of the EHT team describe their vision as being keen enough to see a bagel on the Moon’s surface.

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