The supermassive black hole four million times larger than our sun is named Sagittarius A
Scientists have caught the first glimpse of a giant black hole in the Milky Way.
The supermassive black hole was discovered by an international team at the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT Collaboration) and christened Sagittarius A.
On Twitter, EHT Collaboration shared their discovery: “Meet the black hole at the center of our galaxy! Astronomers have revealed the first image of the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way.”
Here’s everything you need to know about what a black hole is – and just how big supermassive Archer A really is!
what is a black hole?
Black holes, often considered science fiction, are real — and this image proves it.
A black hole occurs in an area of space where matter has collapsed on itself.
Gravity is so strong that not even light can penetrate.
Black holes are thought to form after stars die, but the true cause is still unknown.
They are invisible and can only be seen in space using telescopes with tools that detect them.
Black holes are discovered by studying how they interact in space because they behave differently than other stars due to the gravity around them.
Who posted the first picture of Sagittarius A?
The group has previously released images of black holes.
In 2019, they shared another black hole called Messier 87, which was located in another galaxy and was a whopping 6.5 billion times the mass of our Sun.
This is the first time they have discovered and photographed a black hole in our galaxy.
The image shows the dark central region where the hole itself resides and is surrounded by the light coming from the strong gravitational forces.
Speaking to BBC News, Dutch EHT member Professor Heino Falcke said of the discovery: “This new image is special because it is our supermassive black hole.”
He added, “This is in ‘our backyard,’ and if you want to understand black holes and how they work, this will tell you because we’re seeing it in intricate detail.”
How tall is Sagittarius A?
Named Sagittarius A, the black hole has been dubbed a “monster” and described as supermassive.
Its size is estimated to be a staggering four million times larger than our sun.
To put that in perspective, the ring of the black hole is estimated to be the size of Mercury’s orbit around our sun, which is 40 million miles.
How far is the Milky Way’s black hole from Earth?
There is no need to panic because this monstrous black hole is nowhere near Earth.
The black hole is over 26,000 light-years away, so there’s no risk of it affecting us.
However, this is the first time a black hole has been photographed in our galaxy.