Astronomers have recorded the inmost and sharpest images of the Milky Ways center ever, making it possible for researchers to approximate the mass of the huge black hole at our galaxys heart with unequaled accuracy. The Milky Way observations, made with the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile, also exposed a previously unknown star orbiting close to our galaxys mysterious central black hole, called Sagittarius A *. The Very Large Telescope is among the worlds most sophisticated optical space observatories. Including four primary telescopes, each 27 feet in diameter (8.2 meters), and four auxiliary telescopes, 6 feet in size (1.8 m), the observatory can spot stellar objects four billion times fainter than what can be seen with the naked eye. A method called interferometry makes it possible for astronomers to combine the light coming through the four main telescopes into a single image. Astronomers have actually been utilizing interferometry for several years, however its newest version provides a jaw-dropping 20-fold improvement in sharpness and detail compared to the images gotten by the individual telescopes, researchers said.Related: Milky Ways stellar core overflows with colorful threads in brand-new panorama” The VLTI offers us this unbelievable spatial resolution and with the new images we reach deeper than ever in the past,” Julia Stadler, a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching, Germany, who led the imaging project, stated in a statement. “We are stunned by their amount of detail, and by the action and variety of stars they expose around the great void.” Given that the great void in the Milky Ways center emits no light, it can not be straight observed. Astronomers can just find out about its properties by studying the movements of the stars in its area. ” Following stars on close orbits around Sagittarius A * enables us to precisely probe the gravitational field around the closest huge great void to Earth, to check basic relativity, and to determine the properties of the black hole,” Reinhard Genzel, the director of limit Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics 2020 for his decades-long research of Sagittarius A *, said in the statement. Genzel is likewise a co-author of the brand-new research study. Image 1 of 3( Image credit: ESO) Image 2 of 3Stars orbiting the black hole in the center of the Milky Way galaxy recorded in July 2021. (Image credit: ESO) Image 3 of 3Wide field of vision of the center of the Milky Way galaxy. (Image credit: ESO) The measurements, performed between March and July 2021, exposed that Sagittarius A * has a mass of 4.3 million suns and sits at a range of 27,000 light-years from Earth. Both of these figures are the most precise price quotes of their kind to date. Throughout the project, the astronomers observed the star S29, the closest recognized star to Sagittarius A *, zooming by the black hole at a range of just 8 billion miles (13 billion kilometers). That is just about 90 times the distance from Earth to the sun. During this close pass, the star took a trip at a record-breaking speed of 5,430 miles per second (8,740 kilometers per second). But the observations likewise discovered a totally new star in this thick area near to the galaxys heart. Named S300, the stars discovery is an appealing development for further research into this interesting part of the galactic system.The research study becomes part of an international task called GRAVITY, which is establishing new strategies for evaluating images of the Milky Ways galactic center with the goal of mapping the environments of Sagittarius A * in the best possible information. The astronomers hope that in the future, they will have the ability to identify stars much fainter than S29 and S300 and orbiting even more detailed to the black hole. The orbits of these close stars may reveal info about the black holes rotation. The astronomers intend to make major leaps after the completion of ESOs Extremely Large Telescope, which will end up being the worlds biggest optical area observatory when it comes online in about 2025. ” With GRAVITY and the ELTs powers integrated, we will have the ability to discover how fast the black hole spins,” Frank Eisenhauer, an astronomer at MPE and primary detective of the GRAVITY project, stated in the statement. “Nobody has actually been able to do that so far.” The brand-new research study is described in two papers published in the journal Astronomy & & Astrophysics on Tuesday (Dec. 14). Follow Tereza Pultarova on Twitter @TerezaPultarova. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook..
” Following stars on close orbits around Sagittarius A * allows us to exactly probe the gravitational field around the closest enormous black hole to Earth, to evaluate basic relativity, and to determine the properties of the black hole,” Reinhard Genzel, the director of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics 2020 for his decades-long research study of Sagittarius A *, stated in the statement. Image 1 of 3( Image credit: ESO) Image 2 of 3Stars orbiting the black hole in the center of the Milky Way galaxy caught in July 2021. During the project, the astronomers observed the star S29, the closest known star to Sagittarius A *, zooming by the black hole at a distance of just 8 billion miles (13 billion kilometers). The astronomers hope that in the future, they will be able to spot stars much fainter than S29 and S300 and orbiting even better to the black hole. The orbits of these close stars might expose info about the black holes rotation.