The center of the Milky Way is a crowded hub of millions of stars, surrounded by ultraviolet radiation and X-rays, swirling around a black hole as massive as 4 million suns.
A shell made of dust and gas It's hard to see all of these activities, but NASA's NASA's Spitzer Telescope cut through the fog in 2006 with infrared sensors, delivering an unprecedented picture. The agency re-released this photo (see above) on Wednesday to clarify how much more will be seen on their next project.
This project, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), is set to be launched in 2021. It will use more advanced infrared cameras to image the galaxy in Earth orbit, and will be able to produce darker stars and smaller details than sharpeners Capturing the galactic center, "said Roeland van der Marel, an astronomer working on the imaging tools of JWST, in a press release.
Such images could help answer some of the scientists' most important questions about how the galaxy formed and how it develops time.
Spitzer represented the center of the Milky Way like never before.
The Spitzer photo is a mosaic of smaller images showing the galactic center in infrared light, which is ten times longer than the wavelength The human eye: Through infrared vision, Spitzer's cameras could look past the interstellar clouds of dust that make up the visible light between the Earth and the center of the galaxy 26,000 light-years away.
The picture shows old, cooler stars in blue on the edge. while massive, young stars burn a hot red hue. The stars at the other edge of the picture have a distance of 900 light years.
The horizontal stripe of brighter stars in the center of the picture is the Milky Way plane. The center of the galaxy is the bright white spot in the center of the photo ̵
Somewhere in this center lies a supermassive black hole. Tiny stars form only a few light-years outside their sphere of influence, although scientists previously thought that the environment would be too rough for gas clouds to decay into stars. They hope that JWST can give hints on how stars form there.
Meanwhile, interstellar dust clouds swirl on the galactic plane. Scientists believe that these clouds were formed by streams of charged particles or "wind" from massive stars.
JWST was able to photograph the black hole of the galaxy in new details
The forthcoming telescope is fully assembled and undergoes a long trial before being launched on March 30, 2021 at Northrop Grumman's California plants.
JWST will examine all phases of Universe history to learn about how the first stars and galaxies were formed, how planets were born, and where there could be life in the universe. A 21-foot foldable beryllium mirror helps the telescope to observe in detail distant galaxies and capture extremely weak signals with our own galaxy.
Thanks to the new infrared technology, JWST has had an unprecedented view of the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, known as Sagittarius A * (pronounced "A-Star") or Sgr A *.
The strong attraction of black holes means that even light can not escape. Therefore, it is impossible to map them. However, scientists can look at the disk of hot, fast-spinning material orbiting the drain, just outside the point of no return.
In this way, the Event Horizon Telescope Team (EHT) made the first photo of a black hole in April. The researchers hope to do the same with the JWST for the black hole in the center of our galaxy. So far nobody has seen it.
"Recognizing the disc around Sagittarius A * with Webb would be a private run," said Torsten Böker, a JWST astronomer, in the press release.
Such imaging could help answer questions about how the galaxy and its black hole formed, including a classic chicken-and-egg dilemma.
"If the black hole comes first and stars form, do you collect and collide to form the black hole? These are questions we would like to answer," said Jay Anderson, another JWST scientist in the press release ,
Read more: A giant explosion slashed our galaxy just 3.5 million years ago when human ancestors roamed the earth. Scientists believe it is nuclear activity in the black hole in the center of the Milky Way.
Another possible path of investigation: Scientists believe that every galaxy has a black hole in the center, and studies have shown that the mass of each black hole is related to the total mass of surrounding stars. But nobody knows why. JWST researchers want to look for clues.
Another team is trying to film the galaxy's central black hole.
The international team of scientists who took the first picture of a black hole also plans to direct telescopes into the center of our galaxy – this time to shoot video.
More information: Astronomers plan to film the black hole in the center of the Milky Way as it devours stars and planets. The video could be a & # 39; new field & # 39; open to science.
"We can watch the development of the black hole in real time," said Shep Doeleman, an astronomer who leads the global EHT team, to Business Insider. "We can see how it develops with the galaxy, we can even test Einstein's gravity in a very different way by looking at the orbits of matter – not light but matter – around the black hole." first grainy videos for the public in the next five years. Finally, he said, space-based telescopes like JWST will also give the company its incredibly precise lenses.
"In the centers of galaxies happen so many interesting, weird things," says Marcia Rieke, who the development of the JWST infrared camera, said in the publication. "We want to find out what's going on in us."