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Interesting article

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Kareem El-Sadi (crosscheck9) Chief Captain

Astronomers are closing in on proof that a supermassive black hole is the source of mysterious radio waves at the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way.

Black holes are objects whose gravitational pull is so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape. Supermassive black holes contain the mass of millions, if not billions, of suns.

Astronomers have long suspected that supermassive black holes sit at the heart of most galaxies and may be closely related to galaxy growth. But concrete proof of the existence of these black holes has remained elusive.

"There are many pieces of evidence that need to come together to really demonstrate that a supermassive black hole is at the center of our own galaxy," said Fred K.Y. Lo, the director of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Lo is a member of an international team of astronomers who used an array of radio telescopes to make new high-resolution measurements of a source of radio waves at the center of the Milky Way known as Sgr A* (pronounced "Sagittarius A star").

Radio telescopes capture images of electromagnetic waves that optical telescopes can't detect.

The new measurements strengthen the argument almost beyond doubt that Sgr A* is a black hole, Lo said.

He and his colleagues report their new observations in tomorrow's issue of the journal Nature.

In an accompanying commentary, University of Maryland astronomer Christopher Reynolds wrote, "these observations provide strong evidence that Sgr A* is indeed a black hole."

Tightening Noose

Astronomers previously theorized that Sgr A* is a black hole based on observations of the stars speeding around it.

The observations showed that the object is four million times more massive than the sun and is no bigger than Pluto's orbit.

Few objects of such mass could fit in such a small space, Reynolds said.

The likeliest candidates are either a supermassive black hole or a cluster of several million stellar remnants. Such a cluster would survive for about 20,000 years before eventually becoming a black hole itself, he said.

The latest evidence that Sgr A* is indeed a black hole comes from new measurements that constrain the object to a size of one astronomical unit (AU), a span equal to Earth's distance from the sun.

This is half the size measured in any previous observation of Sgr A*.

"This is what makes it interesting," Lo said. "We are really probing the size of the black hole."

Lead study author Zhiqiang Shen of the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory says the new data also suggest that Sgr A* has a mass density at least a trillion times greater than any known cosmic object.

"With such a mass density, the lifetime for a dark cluster of stellar remnants would be less than a hundred years," Shen said in an e-mail interview.

According to Reynolds of the University of Maryland, astronomers are very unlikely to witness such a short-lived phenomenon.

The Clincher?

Shen, Lo, and colleagues made their new measurements of Sgr A* with an array of ten radio telescopes strung across the U.S. from Mauna Kea, Hawaii, to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Known as the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), the array can view radio waves in the finest detail of any telescope on Earth. Refined observation techniques allowed the team to view radio waves emitted just beyond the edge of Sgr A*.

Further refinements and new instruments may allow astronomers to eventually capture an image of a distinctive shadow around the black hole.

The shadow is caused by radiation from sources that cross the so-called event horizon—the point of no return surrounding a black hole.

"That would really put the nail in the coffin," Lo said.

Your thoughts would be nice 😉

Pro Member Chief Captain
Greekman72 Chief Captain

Very very interesting article Crosscheck.👍

There a lot of thinks we have to learn about ''out there'' and i dont think that we will never stop discover and stop finding new mysteries...
Universe is something more further that a human mind can reach and more complicated and simple same time than a human mind can thought...And i think that we all believe that we know more less thinks than this we have(or not)to. ❓

We are so small thats why we must stop to be selfish... 😉
Our world is just a small drip in the ocean of universe...

Pro Member Chief Captain
Kareem El-Sadi (crosscheck9) Chief Captain

Greekman72 wrote:

Our world is just a small drip in the ocean of universe...

That pretty much summarized it Greekman - We'll said 😉

Pro Member Trainee
roger123 Trainee

crosscheck9 wrote:

Your thoughts would be nice 😉

Interesting stuff.
Why are we so arrogant to think that Extra Terrestrial Life must be comparable to humans ❓
I think that if any other form of life observed our planet - they would give it a wide berth. They are likely to have given up the desire to kill each other as we do, with constant warfare. Any so called "Aliens," are likely to be far older than we are and would most likely count us as a primitive forms of life.

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