Thursday, 9 December 2010

Black hole at the centre of our galaxy

This is so cool!

A black hole has so great a gravity field, even light can't escape, so how can you 'see' one?

Well, you could look for gravitational lensing, in which the space-time around the black hole is distorted, so light from stars on the other side is distorted.

But what some people at the UCLA Galactic Center Group did was to track a bunch of stars near the centre of our galaxy for more than a decade, working from the idea that the centre of a galaxy would be a logical place for a black hole to exist, and if it did, the movement of the stars might betray its presence.

And what they found was that the stars are orbiting around a gigantic nothing with a mass of 2.7 to 4 million times the mass of our sun.
You'll need to click the image to see the animation.

Tip of the hat to Ethan Siegel at Starts with a Bang!

No comments: