Our Galaxy’s Very Own Orange Donut
On the 12th of May 2022, astronomers finally managed to capture a picture of the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A* at the centre of our very own galaxy the milky way only two short years after capturing the very first picture of a black hole in a different galaxy. Tuesday Daily’s very own Jessie Kay dives into the significance of the picture with Dr. Rebecca McElroy, a research fellow at the University of Queensland, and how contributions from Sydney research aided the task. The picture was captured by the Event Horizon Telescope, a global network of synchronized radio observatories that work in unison to observe radio sources associated with black holes. It is the same telescope that captured the very first image of the black hole M87* and the team behind the project was awarded the Breakthrough Prize, also known as the Oscars of Science. With information acquired back in 2019, this same team captured what is probably the most detailed photo of a black hole that was once thought to be unobservable. Dr. McElroy reiterates the importance of this while also highlighting the Australian contribution to the project explaining that it was first resolved by Sydney researchers who discovered a discrete source of radio emission at the center of the galaxy which is called the Sagittarius A Star. The picture of the black hole not only demonstrates the advancement in technology and research into black holes, but also reaffirms the fundamental astrological theories, proving Einstein’s theories and predictions about how space-time works around black holes still hold true till today. The project gives us an insight into how black holes work and how they interact within the galaxy’s that the exist in, while yielding valuable clues about their workings with cleaner and sharper accuracy.