Skip to comments.Astronomers Edging Closer to Gaining Black Hole Image
Posted on 11/03/2005 9:16:22 PM PST by neverdem
Astronomers are reporting today that they have moved a notch closer to seeing the unseeable.
Using a worldwide array of radio telescopes to obtain the most detailed look yet at the center of the Milky Way, they said they had determined that the diameter of a mysterious fountain of energy there was less than half that of Earth's orbit about the Sun.
The result strengthens the case that the energy is generated by a black hole that is gobbling stars and gas, they said. It also leaves astronomers on the verge of seeing the black hole itself as a small dark shadow ringed with light, in the blaze of radiation that marks the galaxy's center.
Until now, the existence of black holes - objects so dense that not even light can escape them- has been surmised by indirect measurements, say of stars or gas swirling in their grip. Seeing the black hole's shadow would require the ability to see about twice as much detail as can now be discerned. Such an observation could provide an important test of Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity, which predicts that black holes can exist.
"We're getting tantalizingly close to being able to see an unmistakable signature that would provide the first concrete proof of a supermassive black hole at a galaxy's center," Shen Zhiqiang of the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, a leader of an international team of radio astronomers, said in a news release. Their report appears today in the journal Nature.
Another member of the team, Fred K. Y. Lo, director of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, Va., said that achieving the extra resolution could take several years and would probably require new radio telescopes. In an accompanying commentary, Christopher Reynolds of the University of Maryland wrote that...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Can Kraut Cure Avian Flu? I tried to post this story.
Can Kraut Cure Avian Flu? As you can tell, it's exactly the same story as the first link. /sarc
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list. Anyone can post any unrelated link as they see fit.
Image of actual star motion at the center of the galaxy.
Amazing to see stellar motion
Thanks for the link, and two pings.
"Until now, the existence of black holes - objects so dense that not even light can escape them"
Isn't that what we've always kinda figured they looked like?
At any rate, progresses in astronomy are always cool --especially when photographed! Looking forward to the pics!
They should hire Geraldo Rivera to host a TV program devoted to the first glimpse of a black hole, and...there won't be anything there!
A picture of a black hole? Couldn't you just close your eyes and get the same effect? LOLOLOL
I really do like astronomy photos, too, but this just struck me as funny.
Gee, I didn't know it was that hard to get a picture of Sacramento...
Thanks for the post, can't wait for the photos--btw, is it just urban legend or did the Russians actually send a team of proctologists to the first international conference on black holes?
Maybe that is why we are speeding up instead of slowing down. We are being sucked into the black hole.
What does this imply for physicists like Mazur, Mottolo, and Chapline, who believe that black holes don't exist? The visual signature of a black hole and a gravastar is the same, right?
I only took one college course in astronomy decades ago. You need to ask someone else.
Done. You may want to check the links in comment 3 on this thread.
Must be a hell of a flash bulb. ;)
Me too! And my husband's a very good amateur astronomer.
And the theory continues....
Do we live in a "breathing universe that has been imploding and exploding since time eternal?
Are we on the outgoing explosion side of the cycle ...or is the universe collapsing once again upon itself into A giant black hole seeking to create a critical supermass, only to explode again into the galaxies in a neverending cycle of life?
Do I think about this stuff too much after I've been at the local bar all night?
The answer to all these questions is:
It is amazing that even with so much evidence, scientists still won't make the leap and declare that all galaxies have a black hole at their center, yet with no evidence for macro-evolution, they made that leap a long time ago...