Astronomers for the first time accurately measured the size of a Black Hole at Galaxy

Combining the capacities of the world’s largest radio observatories helped scientists for the first time obtain specific data on the size of the “visible part” of a giant black hole in the center of the Milky Way, according to an article published in the Astrophysical Journal. 

Most astronomers believe that in the center of all galaxies are supermassive black holes – objects weighing millions and billions of suns, continuously absorbing matter. Partially a black hole throws it back in the form of jets — thin plasma beams of plasma accelerated to near-light speeds. 

In the Milky Way (and some other galaxies), the black hole is hibernating, so it does not have large and visible jets. Scientists have long been trying to figure out when she fell asleep, how active she was and how this activity affected the stars in the center and on the outskirts of the Galaxy. 

Sarah Issaun from the University of Nijmegen (the Netherlands) and her colleagues have been watching Sgr A * for many years, a black hole in the center of the Milky Way, using a GMVA microwave interferometer – a virtual radio telescope. It combines the power of the most sensitive ground-based millimeter radio telescopes in Chile, USA, Spain, Germany and several other countries. 

GMVA acts as an analogue of another well-known project – Event Horizon Telescope, but in this case, scientists are watching Sgr A * on a different set of frequencies. This will allow to study it in more detail and understand how radiation is born in the surroundings invisible to the EHT.

Tom Tompson

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