Astronomers are preparing a “revolutionary” announcement for the Galaxy

Astronomers are preparing a "revolutionary" announcement for the Galaxy


Astrophysicists from the European Southern Observatory have just announced a conference where they will present a mysterious discovery that is presented as “revolutionary” in relation to the Galaxy.

A team of famous astronomers has just stirred up the community of all space professionals and amateurs by teasing the announcement of a “revolutionary” discovery in our Galaxy. These results will be announced on May 12 and the least we can say is that there is much to be intrigued about.

Indeed, this mysterious and surprisingly noisy announcement could have been almost anecdotal if it had come from a lambda lab. But in reality it is just the opposite. the press release comes directly from the validity European Southern Observatory (ESO)an institution that obviously does not usually fall into sensuality.

And, mainly, it concerns results related toEvent Horizon Telescope (EHT). In this context, the mere mention of an important result is enough to terrify astronomers. And for good reason: it is the same machine that made it possible to produce a lot the first direct image of a black hole in the world. An important step for the experts, but also for the general public who were fascinated by this reddish halo full of hints.

For quite some time now, EHT’s main task has been to explore the heart of our galaxy. Therefore, it can be expected that the discovery “revolutionary”Announced by ESO directly concerns this sector. For now, the suspense remains intact. but what the researchers found there, they thought it was worth announcing with great fanfare at a dedicated conference to be held on May 12.

An X-ray representation of the Sagittarius A * related signal recorded here by the Chandra X-ray Observatory. © NASA

Link to Sagittarius A *?

In the meantime, we can try to make some assumptions. To do this, we can begin to examine the properties of this zone. It is commonly accepted that the Galaxy, like many other galaxies, is centered around an oversized black hole called Sagr A *.

However, as mentioned above, EHT has been moving in this direction for several months now. If one adds this information to one’s pedigree as a black hole hunter, one begins to discern the outlines of a viable scenario. It seems increasingly plausible that ESO is going to announce a major breakthrough in the nature and properties of Sagittarius A *.

Because even though it is generally accepted that it is a black hole, this information has never been verified with absolute certainty. The most convincing results were brought by the excellent work of Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez. managed to prove that Sgr A * is an extremely compact oversized object, for which a black hole represents the only reasonable explanation according to current models.

Ever since this work, which won its authors the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2020, the scientific community has been working hard to confirm once and for all this state of the black hole. Above all, they seek to produce a picture of the black hole horizon in the visible spectrum, as in 2019.

The very first image of a black hole, created using an algorithm by young researcher Katie Bouman. © Event Horizon Telescope collaboration et al.

Hunting for black holes is a complex exercise

This was already a resounding scientific achievement. Indeed, black holes are by definition very non-photogenic. IThey have the annoying habit of absorbing all electromagnetic radiation, including light. Therefore, it is of course impossible to observe the black hole itself.

Astronomers should be content with searching for the horizon, a limit met by a gas and dust disk that accumulates around the uniqueness while emitting very intense radiation. This is why the image of the black hole that passed from then on to the next ones is in the form of a ring.

And the download of the portrait in Sgr A * is announced even more complicated. Indeed, this cosmic giant has so far only been observed indirectly, thanks to the mass and orbit of nearby objects. If it is difficult to observe immediately, it is because it is partly covered by a huge cloud of dust and gas; an obstacle that greatly complicates the work of astronomers. If they could indeed produce a picture of its horizon, the term “revolutionary” used by the researchers would therefore be entirely justified.

Whether this is the subject of this conference or not, we make an appointment on May 12 at 3 p.m. for this conference that has already been announced fascinating in many ways; the announcement will be broadcast live on the ESO YouTube channel.


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