European Southern Observatory presents the first ever photo of a supermassive black hole Sagittarius A *

Anhelina Sheremet

On May 12, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) presented the first-ever photo of Sagittarius A *, the central supermassive black hole in our galaxy (the Milky Way).

The image shows a massive object at the very center of our galaxy. Earlier, scientists saw stars orbiting something invisible, compact and very massive in the center of the Milky Way. This indicates that this object, known as Sagittarius A *, is a black hole, and todayʼs image provides the first direct visual evidence of this.

Although we cannot see the black hole itself because it is completely dark, the gas around it does not glow and gives a characteristic feature: a dark central area surrounded by a bright annular structure. The image captures light distorted by the powerful gravity of a black hole that is four million times more massive than our Sun.

"We were amazed at how well the size of the ring agreed with Einsteinʼs general theory of relativity. These unprecedented observations have greatly improved our understanding of what is happening at the heart of our galaxy and offered a new insight into how these giant black holes interact with the environment, said Jeffrey Bauer, a scientist at the Sinique Academy Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics.