The international collaboration of EHT astronomers proved this Thursday in image the existence of a supermassive black hole in the heart of our galaxy, Sagittarius A *, three years after the first photo of a black hole, located in a distant galaxy. A proof for scientists The “silhouette” of the black hole silhouetted against a luminous disc of matter recalls that of the black hole of the distant galaxy M87, which is much larger than ours. Scientists see it as proof that the same mechanisms of physics are at work at the heart of two systems of very different sizes. “I can show you the image of the black hole Sgr A* at the center of the galaxy”, announced to applause Huib Jan Van Langevelde, EHT project manager, at a press conference in Garching, Germany. of gravity so strong that not even light can escape. But we can observe the material that circulates around, before being swallowed there. the gas cloud (around the black hole) that emits radio waves and that we have observed”. Black holes are considered to be stellar when they have the mass of a few suns, or supermassive, when they have a mass of several million or even billion suns. Named Sagittarius A*Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), which owes its name to its detection in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius, has a mass of about four million suns and is 27,000 light years from Earth. Its existence has been assumed since 1974, with the detection of an unusual radio source in the center of the galaxy. The EHT, an international network of eight radio-astronomical observatories, had brought in 2019 the historic image of M87 *, a supermassive black hole of six billion solar masses in its galaxy, Messier 87, located 55 million light-years away. With its four million solar mass, Sgr A* is a featherweight in the bestiary of supermassive black holes.
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