Tucson researchers help image black hole at center of our galaxy | News – Tucson, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona 2022-05-20 13:15:00 –

On Thursday, May 12, people around the world turned to the first image of a black hole in the center of the Milky Way galaxy. This image is the result of an international scientific collaboration called the Event Horizon, which shows the most important discoveries in all astronomy since at least the last event horizon telescope team imaged a black hole. ..

In 2019, Event Horizon Telescope became world-famous with the announcement of the Messiah 87 * Black Hole, the first image of a black hole about 50 million light-years away. Now they have revealed Sagittarius A *, the second black hole ever directly imaged, in the center of the galaxy 26,000 light-years away.

Several Tucson-based astronomers and scientists work on the event horizon telescope team through the University of Arizona. In total, this collaboration involves more than 300 scientists and 80 institutions around the world.

“Until now, there was no direct photo to confirm the sag. The star was certainly a black hole,” said Feryal Özel, a UA professor of astronomy and physics who is a member of the Science Council at Event Horizon Telescope. I am. “This image shows a bright ring surrounding the darkness. A clear sign of the shadow of a black hole. The light escaping from the hot gas swirling around the black hole looks like a bright ring to us. Light that is too close to the black hole and close enough to be swallowed by it will eventually cross the horizon, leaving only a dark void in the center. “

This second black hole image is very similar to the original black hole image. In other words, it’s a blurry orange ring in the blackness of space. Özel says they look similar because they are the result of the same basic rules of physics.

Due to its nature, black holes do not emit light. Therefore, the image shows that there are no black holes because they distort the ambient light, not the black holes themselves. Sagittarius A * Black Hole is estimated to be 4 million times the mass of our Sun.

“The fact that the light looks like a ring and has a black shadow inside shows that it is purely gravity,” said Dimitrios Psartis, a professor of astronomy and physics, in the release of UA. I am saying. “It’s all predicted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity, the only theory in the universe that doesn’t care about scale … everywhere you look, you have to look at the donuts, they should all look almost the same. is.”

The event horizon telescope is not a single telescope, but a network of telescopes around the world that combine information to produce these images. Current locations include observatories in Arizona, Spain and Mexico.

Messier 87 * Black Hole and Sagittarius A * Black Hole are displayed in approximately the same size. However, this is because the Massier 87 * weighs 1,500 times, but is 2,000 times more separated.

“Now we can look at the differences between these two supermassive black holes and get valuable new clues about how this important process works,” said the Event Horizon Telescope scientist. Keiichi Asada states. “There are images of two black holes at the larger and smaller ends of the supermassive black hole in the universe, so more than ever testing how gravity behaves in these extreme environments. I can.”

Looking to the future, Özel says the Event Horizon Telescope team is also interested in how black holes change over time.

“When you look at the light source one day and the next, or one year and the next year, how does it change and how much light does it emit at different wavelengths?” Özel said in a UA release. “What can we predict about it? And how can we use our observations to understand the environment of that black hole?”

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