Astronomers to unveil groundbreaking results about the center of our galaxy

Could it be about the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way?
Loukia Papadopoulos
Artist's conception of the Milky Way Galaxy.Wikimedia Commons

If the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) sounds familiar, it's because its team was responsible for a pretty impressive achievement. Back in 2019, the team released the first-ever image of a black hole's event horizon, a stunning development that at the time marked an incredible milestone for radio astronomy and physics.

Now, the EHT, collaborating with The European Southern Observatory, is planning to announce some "groundbreaking results" about the center of our galaxy, according to a statement published by the EHT on Thursday. "The U.S. National Science Foundation with the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration will hold a press conference to announce a groundbreaking discovery in the Milky Way," reads the press statement.

A new not-yet revealed discovery 

What could this new discovery be? Well, EHT was not just studying the supermassive beast at the center of the Messier 87 galaxy dubbed M87, which produced the first-ever image of a black hole.

The organization was also investigating the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way known as Sagittarius A, or Sgr A. This black hole is about 4.3 million times more massive than the sun and sits just 25,000 light-years from Earth. 

Compared to M87, Sgr A is much closer and smaller. (M87 is about 6 billion times more massive and about 50 million light-years from Earth.) You may think that the closer distance makes it easier to inspect and draw some pretty accurate conclusions.

Celestial interference

However, Sfr A was actually harder to investigate than M87 because there's a lot more cosmic gas and dust that thwarts the activities of radio telescopes when looking at celestial objects located toward the heart of our home galaxy. Could EHT have somehow overcome this hurdle to produce another image of yet another black hole?

Of course, this is just a guess. Nobody knows for sure what EHT's next announcement will reveal and whether it will indeed be a picture of Sgr A. We will have to wait till May 12 to get that answer at the EHT's scheduled press conference. What we do know, however, is that it will be exciting and possibly revolutionary. 

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