Sagittarius A*: New images of the black hole at the center of our galaxy have been revealed

This new picture of the black hole that holds our galaxy together with its gravitational pull could be the key to understanding these cosmic monsters.

He Event Horizon TelescopeA historical milestone has been attributed to: Getting a new picture of Sagittarius A* (the black hole at the center of our galaxy). It's a network of antennas distributed around the world that has been pointing at very specific spots in the sky for 15 years and sensing light. Outside the visible spectrum

Its power (including precise, sensitive and magnifying power) is so great that it can see and focus on something small and distant. A tennis ball on the moon. The first demonstration of its capabilities was aimed not at our own galactic center, but at a heart The supergiant elliptical galaxy 50 million light years away.

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The first image of a black hole emerged from this observation, announced and popularized in 2019. Then, in 2022, it was announced that the first image of our own galaxy had been obtained: a supermassive black hole. Sagittarius A*

If it's not the first, why is it so important?

Comparison between the first image (unpolarized) and the most recent (polarized image) Credit: EHT / ESO / NSF / ALMA

In contrast, a black hole at the center of a neighboring galaxy is easier to observe than our own black hole. This is because material that does not cross the event horizon is ejected at impressive speeds while experiencing the extreme gravity of the black hole.

Dr. Sarah Issaun, co-chair of the program shared Being able to sense objects with such fast and erratic motion was very challenging. But the discovery it leads to is worth the whole process.

“This new image of the black hole at the center of the Milky Way tells us that Sagittarius A* has intense and twisted magnetic fields in its vicinity.”

Ability to measure and analyze these magnetic fields and the role they play Polarize the light that manages to escape the hole It has incalculable scientific value. This would allow Einstein's theory of relativity to be tested; as well as the effects of subjecting light waves to extreme gravity.

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What is polarity?

It is a physical phenomenon where the waves emitted by a light source adopt a preferential orientation. During this process, some of its properties such as direction or color change. This can happen when waves pass through materials that absorb light in a particular orientation Sunglasses or polarized glasses.

However, this can also be caused by a change in the orientation of the waves A very intense magnetic field That. If this field interacts with the magnetic component of light, Makes the wave oscillate in a certain way.

Ivan Marti-Vidal is one of the coordinators of the Polarization Group Even the Horizon TelescopeIt was shared for that the EHT has specialized receptors for polarized light and by using them, it was able to detect its exterior. Event does not spread Instead of the two black holes, a faint patch of orange light.

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Understanding the limits of reality and understanding

Even if it's something we can experience through something as simple as wearing sunglasses; Polarization is a quantum effect that is hard to understand (even harder to explain).

Good pictures

To truly understand its impact, it is necessary to approach this discovery with understanding Time It's nothing One of the two sides of the “space-time” coin. In essence, This space-time is our reality. But this reality can be distorted by forces in our own cosmic neighborhood.

into a black hole, Without lightWithout the ability to move anything Not even at a quantum levelNo ability to exist.

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Investigating and analyzing the conditions that exist at the limits of these cosmic monsters is key to understanding the elements that make up our “reality.”

Ironically, it is this chaotic, unstoppable force of nature that preserves the order of our galaxy. maintains Tens of billions of stars in a harmonious orbital dance It is, for practical purposes, due to our rapid existence, It will always continue like this.

This text is written by Isai Vilches, a mechatronics engineer specializing in research methodology and scientific writing.

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