A gigantic black hole with super gravitational pull has been unveiled by scientists on Thursday.
Known as Sagittarius A*, or SgrA*, the black hole is said to be capable of devouring any form of matter within its super pull. Its location is put at the center of our Milky Way galaxy, and is the second of any black hole pictured by scientists. The first was unveiled three years ago, but was found at the center of a different galaxy.
Sagittarius A* was captured using the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) international collaboration; the same telescope which produced the first ever image of a black hole in 2019.
According to scientists, the black hole found on Thursday is 5.9 trillion miles from Earth; which is 26,000 light years. Its mass is estimated to be 4 million times that of the sun. Its center position means over 100 billion stars are located around it, all part of the spiral Milky Way galaxy.
Both the sun and the Sagittarius A* are situated at a spiral arm of the Milky Way and at the center respectively. The galaxy itself shares striking resemblance with a continuously spinning pinwheel. One magnificence of black holes is their ability to pull light with their gravity. They are known to swallow up planets, gas, stars, dust and any form of electromagnetic radiation. They are also difficult to view.
Sagittarius A* was more difficult to image despite being closer to the Earth’s solar system than Messier 87 discovered in 2019. The Messier 87 showed a red, yellow and white ring surrounding a dark center, and glowing at first sight. It is located at 54 million light years from Earth and 6.5 billion times the size of the sun.
EHT data scientist and radio astronomer, Lindy Blackburn, explained the challenges associated with imaging the supermassive black hole unveiled on Thursday.
“Sagittarius A* is over a thousand times less massive than the black hole at M87, but since it is in our own galaxy it is much closer and should appear just slightly larger on the sky.
“However, the smaller physical size of Sgr A* also means that everything changes about a thousand times faster for Sgr A* than M87. We must also peer through the messy disk of our own galaxy to view Sgr A*, which blurs and distorts the image,” Blackburn explained.
Black holes also exist in different forms. Based on their sizes, they range from stellar-mass black holes to intermediate-mass black holes. The biggest are classified as supermassive black holes and are situated at the center of most galaxies.