The Black Hole at the Center of our Galaxy

This result provides overwhelming evidence that the object is indeed a black hole and yields valuable clues about the workings of such giants, which are thought to reside at the center of most galaxies.

A global research team called the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration produced the image using observations from a worldwide network of radio telescopes.

The image is a long-anticipated look at the massive object that sits at the very center of our galaxy. Scientists had previously seen stars orbiting around something invisible, compact, and very massive at the center of the Milky Way. This strongly suggested that the object—known as Sagittarius A*, or Sgr A* (pronounced “sadge-ay-star”)—is a black hole, and the new image provides the first direct visual evidence of it.

Although we cannot see the black hole itself, because it is completely dark, glowing gas around it reveals a telltale signature: a dark central region called a “shadow,” surrounded by a bright ringlike structure. The new view captures light bent by the powerful gravity of the black hole, which is 4 million times more massive than the sun.

A “Kodak Moment” for every serious student of science in general and astronomy in particular.

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