1
   

At the center of our Milky Way Galaxy lies a supermassive black hole.

 
 
Reply Thu 11 Dec, 2008 09:39 am
At the center of our Milky Way Galaxy lies a supermassive black hole. Once a controversial claim, this conclusion is now solidly based on 16 years of observations that map the orbits of 28 stars very near the galactic center. Using European Southern Observatory telescopes and sophisticated near infrared cameras, astronomers patiently measured the positions of the stars over time, following one star, designated S2, through a complete orbit as it came within about 1 light-day of the center of the Milky Way. Their results convincingly show that S2 is moving under the influence of the enormous gravity of a compact, unseen object -- a black hole with 4 million times the mass of the Sun. Their ability to track stars so close to the galactic center accurately measures the black hole's mass and also determines the distance to the center to be 27,000 light-years.

This deep, near-infrared image shows the crowded inner 3 light-years of the central Milky Way. Spectacular time-lapse animations of the stars orbiting within light-days of the galactic center can be found here.
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 1,584 • Replies: 3
No top replies

 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Dec, 2008 04:39 pm
We are being sucked into the black hole at the rate of sebenty leben gazzilion parsecs per fortnight. Ben Dover and kiss your ass bye bye
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Dec, 2008 06:08 pm
Heard about this on NPR. Fascinating.
0 Replies
 
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Dec, 2008 06:17 pm
@farmerman,
I thought the dark matter/dark energy crowd had decided some time ago that some black hole exists at the center of every galaxy, otherwise gravity wouldn't suffice to form a galaxy to begin with. Anyway, I knew we're in the outer exurbs of our own galaxy, but 27,000 light-years?! That distance makes me feel terribly provincial Smile
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

Saturn as seen by Cassini - Discussion by littlek
New Comet May Be Observers' Dream Come True - Discussion by Zarathustra
Are you ready for the solar eclipse Sunday? - Question by Lustig Andrei
Red dwarf stars and their planets - Discussion by gungasnake
Geology and astronomy combined - Question by Lapetus
Total Solar eclipse of August 21, 2017 - Discussion by rosborne979
physics - Discussion by usmankhalid665
A Series of Humbling Pictures - Discussion by edgarblythe
The Early Universe - Question by piratejack5150
Universal Census of the Universe - Discussion by tsarstepan
More new planets in from ESO - Discussion by littlek
 
  1. Forums
  2. » At the center of our Milky Way Galaxy lies a supermassive black hole.
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 03/06/2021 at 08:37:49