October 4, 2022

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Astronomers are preparing for a "revolutionary" announcement about the Milky Way

Astronomers are preparing for a “revolutionary” announcement about the Milky Way

Astrophysicists at the European Southern Observatory have just announced a conference where they will present a mysterious discovery presented as “revolutionary” regarding the Milky Way.

A team of famous astronomers has just excited the community of all space professionals and hobbyists by teasing the announcement of a “revolutionary” discovery in our Milky Way galaxy. These results will be announced on May 12th and the least we can say is that there is a lot of interest.

In fact, this mysterious and surprisingly loud announcement was a tale if it came out of the lambda lab. But it is actually quite the opposite. The press release comes directly from the prestigious European Southern Observatory (ESO)A situation that clearly does not fall into the circle of excitement.

It mainly relates to results related to the following:Event Horizon Telescope (EHT)† In this regard, just mentioning an important discovery is enough to make astronomers shiver. And rightly so: it’s the same machine that made the same thing possible The world’s first direct image of a black hole. It’s a huge step for professionals, but also for the general public who are fascinated by this red aura filled with traces.

The main mission of the EHT team was: Explore the heart of our galaxy† So the discovery is expected”revolutionary“The ESO announcement is directly related to this field. For now, the tension remains the same. But whatever researchers find there, they believe it is worth announcing it with great fanfare at a special conference on May 12.

X-ray image of the signal associated with Sagittarius A*, taken here by the Chandra X Ray Observatory. © NASA

A link with Sagittarius A*?

In the meantime, we can try to formulate some hypotheses. To do this, we can begin to look at the characteristics of this area. It is generally accepted that the Milky Way, like many other galaxies, is centered around a Black hole Very heavy is called arc A* (Sgr A*).

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However, as mentioned above, the EHT has been pointing in that direction for several months now. If one adds this information to his predecessors as a black hole hunter, he begins to define a viable scenario; It seems increasingly likely that ESO is about to announce a major discovery about the nature and properties of Sagittarius A*

Because although it is generally believed to be a black hole, this information has not been verified with certainty. The most decisive results came from the exceptional work of Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Gess. They were able to prove that Sgr A* is a very massive object represented by a black hole The only reasonable explanation Among the current models.

Since this award-winning work Nobel Prize in Physics For the authors in 2020, the scientific community is working hard to definitively confirm the state of the black hole. Above all, they are trying to produce an image of the black hole horizon in the visible spectrum, as in 2019.

The first image of a black hole, taken by a young researcher, Katie Bowman, using an algorithm. © Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration et al.

Searching for black holes, a complex exercise

This was indeed a resounding scientific achievement. In fact, black holes are by definition Not very impressive. meThey have a bad habit of absorbing all electromagnetic radiation, including light. It is therefore physically impossible to observe the black hole itself.

Astronomers have to content themselves with searching for the horizon, the boundaries embodied by A. The disk of gas and dust that accumulates around the singularity While emitting very intense radiation. For this reason, the image of a black hole passed on to future generations looks like a ring.

Image advertised on Sgr A* more complicated† In fact, this cosmic giant has so far been observed only indirectly, thanks to the mass and orbits of nearby objects. If it is difficult to detect immediately, it is because it is partially obscured by a file Huge cloud of dust and gas† An obstacle that greatly complicates the task of astronomers. If they actually succeeded in creating an image of the horizon, the “revolutionary” description used by the researchers would therefore be fully justified.

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Whether or not that is the topic of this conference, we will give you a date on May 12th at 3:00 PM for this already announced conference. Fabulous in many ways† The ad will be broadcast live on the ESO YouTube channel.