Category: unexpected but awesome

Black Holes Are Real And Spectacular, And So…

Black Holes Are Real And Spectacular, And So Are Their Event Horizons

“Originally estimated to be slightly larger than its M87 counterpart, the black hole at the center of the Milky Way — known as Sagittarius A* — has not yet had its event horizon imaged. When you observe the Universe, you don’t always get what you expect; sometimes, you get what it gives you. Instead, it was M87’s black hole that came through first, which was a much brighter and a much cleaner signal.

What we’ve found is spectacular. Those dark pixels at the center of the image are actually the silhouette of the event horizon itself. The light that we observe comes from the accelerated, heated matter around it, which must emit electromagnetic radiation. Where the matter exists, it emits radio waves, and the dark circle we see is where the background radio waves are blocked by the event horizon itself.”

We have an event horizon, folks! It wasn’t the one at the center of our galaxy that came through first, but rather the one at the center of Messier 87: a black hole over 1,000 times more massive, but some 2,000 times farther away, than the one contained in the Milky Way. This is an ultramassive black hole that’s almost the size of the entire Solar System, and its event horizon is real.

Come get the full story on what we know, now that we have our image, about black holes in the aftermath of the Event Horizon Telescope!