For decades we have been trying to decode our supermassive black hole, but crucial clues could be ahead of us all.
With a series of 13 radio telescopes, astronomers from the Max Planck Institute were able to settle on Sagittarius A * (pronounced A-star), the region in which the Milky Way's black hole lies. And once they eliminated the noise of the stray light that surrounds them, they found that the strong radiation emitted by the black hole came only from a tiny area that could be aimed directly at Earth. The research was published on Monday . The Astrophysical Journal if confirmed, has given Sgr A * and his radio jets a new lease of life.
Black Hole Blasts
Supermassive Black Holes are a fairly common universe in our country, sitting in the hearts of most of the great galaxies. Their strong gravitational fields make it possible to suck in and extinguish objects that come too close to them. And while they take up most of this heavenly substance, a small fraction escapes the black hole and shoots back into space. These emissions, known as jets, transmit abundant radio waves and travel at near the speed of light.
And although we can see some of the Sgr-A * emissions from Earth, studying is easier said than done. In a phenomenon known as light scattering, the particles of starlight that sit between Earth and Sgr A * scatter in the sky, making it difficult to distinguish the starlight from the radio emissions of the black hole.
Recently, however, a team of researchers was able to isolate this radio emission using very long interferometry baselines. It is a technique that combines multiple telescopes into one massive, extremely powerful telescope. With 13 rifle scopes from all over the world they blocked the scattered light and examined the emission independently.
They found that it comes from a symmetrical source that agrees well with the "jet" theory, as they break off black holes in opposite directions. They also discovered that the emission is much narrower than expected. In fact, it is so close that it comes from a 300-millionth-degree degree – suggesting that it is almost directly addressed to Earth.
By the draw, this means we may have a direct view of one of our black hole being dominant. And do not worry about the jet actually blasting us, because being in our line of sight does not put us in danger, as far as we know. If anything, it could enable us to study the jet in impeccable detail and shed light on the mysterious nature of Sgr A *.