Press Release

Astronomers reveal first image of the black hole at the heart of our galaxy

Astronomers reveal first image of the black hole at the heart of our galaxy

This is the first image of Sgr A*, the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy. It’s the first direct visual evidence of the presence of this black hole. It was captured by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), an array which linked together eight existing radio observatories across the planet to form a single “Earth-sized” virtual telescope. The telescope is named after the “event horizon”, the boundary of the black hole beyond which no light can escape. Although we cannot see the event horizon itself, because it cannot emit light, glowing gas orbiting around the black hole reveals a telltale signature: a dark central region (called a “shadow”) surrounded by a bright ring-like structure. The new view captures light bent by the powerful gravity of the black hole, which is four million times more massive than our Sun. The image of the Sgr A* black hole is an average of the different images the EHT Collaboration has extracted from its 2017 observations.

This research was supported by MEXT/JSPS KAKENHI (No. 18K13594, 18K03656, 18H01245, 18H03721, 18KK0090, 21H01137, 21H04488, 25120007, 25120008), MEXT as “Program for Promoting Researches on the Supercomputer Fugaku” (Toward a unified view of the universe: from large scale structures to planets, JPMXP1020200109) and JICFuS, NINS Project of Formation of International Scientific Base and Network, Toray Science Foundation, The Sumitomo Foundation, and other funding agencies worldwide.

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Program for Promoting Researches on the Supercomputer Fugaku

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