Will we see the black hole at the center of the Milky Way for the first time on May 12? “Revolutionary news”

from Lorenzo Nicolao and Login Editor

On May 12, the latest on the celestial body of our galaxy will be shared at a joint press conference. In 2019 the first photo of a black hole, M87

The next May 12 it could be a great day in the history of world astronomy. The project Event Horizon Telescope (Eht), in conjunction with the European Southern Observatory (Eso), did not want to share too many details, but has already announced that it will be a sensational novelty, relative to the latest studies carried out on the Milky Way, our galaxy. Great enthusiasm for the latest developments of a project that began in 2006, but which is making great progress on the knowledge of the most mysterious celestial bodies: the black holes. And while details are scarce at the moment, experts have gotten a feel for how astronomers are about to reveal that they have taken a picture of the supermassive black hole. Sagittarius A * at the center of the Milky Way for the first time.

The international press conference

The announcement with all the details will be released on 12 May: the information will be shared through a simultaneous press conference (this the link to follow it live at 4.30pm Italian timeas well as an immediately following event of a more popular nature) from the headquarters of theEso and the Event Horizon Telescope
in Munichwith further events a Washington, Santiago de Chile, Mexico City, Tokyo and Taipei. Although nothing specific has been communicated so far, it is likely that the announcement refers to the most important scientific project conducted in the last two years, namely the one on Sagittarius A * (the asterisk is not a typo, it stands for “star” and is part of the name), because it is located within the constellation of Sagittarius, which has been talked about and speculated about for several months. Scientists have only said that groundbreaking results will be presented at the conference, but the full extent of the discovery is still unclear. The network of radio telescopes has been carrying out specific research work on this celestial body for years, so it is likely that the news is all related to the black hole.

The first image

On April 10, 2019, it was released to the world a first image of a black hole, but different from that of our galaxy. It was the cosmic object at the center of the galaxy Messier 87nicknamed M87. Three years ago the first results concerning data processing made up to that point, in addition to a photo that went around the world in a few minutes. The magnetic fields around the black hole were revealed, something new that was already defined by researchers as sensational. Later described as the photo of the century, the image however deformed, due to the distortions of space-time induced by the black hole. The celestial body appears as through a lens, a ring visible at radio wave frequencies.
But EHT wasn’t just studying M87. The set of telescopes used was also observing the supermassive object at the center of the Milky Way known as Sagittarius A * o Sgr A *. The black hole would have about 4.3 million times the mass of the Sun and it is located only 25,000 light years from Earth, a distance that is not excessive in cosmic terms. For comparison, M87 unveiled 3 years ago about 6 billion times more massive and stands at 50 million light years from the earth. Obtaining an image of Sgr A * is much more difficult than M87 because when looking towards the center of a spiral galaxy such as the Milky Way there are many more cosmic gases and dust interfering with radio telescopes. This is why it was less difficult (so to speak) to get a picture of M87 first, although it is much further away from our planet.


If astronomers were able to produce a direct image of the Sagittarius A * event horizon, it will be a historic moment, which will also allow us to understand new things about our galaxy. The ESO press release promises something revolutionary, that the same wording that they used before announcing the first direct image of a black hole in 2019. To give a comparison on the difficulty of the search, the experts explain that acquiring a direct image of the black hole is as complex as observing a large object 1 millimeter from the distance of 13 thousand kilometers. In a few days we will know what steps forward has made the knowledge of the galaxy in which we human beings live.

April 30, 2022 (change April 30, 2022 | 13:39)

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Will we see the black hole at the center of the Milky Way for the first time on May 12? “Revolutionary news”

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