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Technology Scientists Are Close to Imaging Milky Way's Black Hole

23:53  25 may  2018
23:53  25 may  2018 Source:   newsweek.com

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Scientists using combined data from three orbiting X-ray space telescopes report a recent tenfold increase in the rate of X-ray flares from the Milky Annotated composite image showing the motion of G2 as it closed in, and then passed, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way .

Imaging SgrA* has supported the theory that a supermassive black hole is right there at the galactic central point ("our results are more evidence that we are looking at a Maybe then we'll be able to see if there' s a huge robot-populated spaceship hovering just outside the hole . [New Scientist via Physorg].

a star in the background © Provided by IBT Media

New analysis of observations from telescopes around the world has brought scientists one step closer to imaging the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, known as Sagittarius A*.

The observations form part of the hugely ambitious Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project, which links together telescopes around the world over the internet, essentially creating a powerful global observatory. The goal of EHT is to image, for the first time, the event horizon—the point of no return beyond which nothing, not even light, can escape the immense gravitational pull of the black hole.

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At the heart of the Milky Way , astronomers see some wacky things. So while scientists can't say for sure the object is a black hole , it' s looking mighty likely. Looking closer . To finally solve this riddle, astronomers yearn to image the center of the galaxy directly.

Alternatively, are these types of flare clusters typical of black holes , and an example of scientists ' limited understanding of these mighty beasts? Upcoming observations may shed some light on these dark objects. [ Images : Milky Way ' s Monster Black Hole Shreds …

In 2013, the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) joined the EHT, significantly increasing the resolution of the images it is capable of taking. This enabled scientists to observe in unprecedented detail the regions right next to Sagittarius A*’s event horizon.

These observations were taken at a resolution of three Schwarzschild radii—which is three times the hypothetical size of the black hole itself, equivalent to around 36 million kilometers.

This may not seem very precise. However, the observations have given scientists sufficient data to begin calculating the structure of the event horizon.

"We started to figure out what the horizon-scale structure may look like, rather than just draw generic conclusions from the visibilities that we sampled,” Ru-Sen Lun from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) in Bonn, Germany, and lead author of a new study detailing the new observations—published in the Astrophysical Journalsaid in a statement.

“It is very encouraging to see that the fitting of a ring-like structure agrees very well with the data, though we cannot exclude other models,” he added.

The new findings mean that scientists may be able to image the event horizon of Sagittarius A* by the end of this year, although further observations are still required.

"The results are an important step to ongoing development of the Event Horizon Telescope," Sheperd Doeleman, from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and a director of the EHT, said in a statement. 

"The analysis of new observations will bring us another step closer to imaging the black hole in the center of our Galaxy."

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