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TechnologyAstronomers discover massive ring of gas circling our black hole

11:45  07 june  2019
11:45  07 june  2019 Source:   bgr.com

Scientists expected to release landmark image of black hole

Scientists expected to release landmark image of black hole Scientists expected to release landmark image of black hole

The intense gravitational pull of the black hole draws in just about everything, but nearby debris it hasn’t yet swallowed up orbits in a pattern called an The gas is still incredibly hot at around 18,000 degrees Fahrenheit, but that’s a lot milder than the 18 million degrees Fahrenheit of the bands of hot

Black holes : picturing the heart of darkness. Astronomers are poised Wednesday to unveil the first direct image of a black hole and the surrounding whirlwind of white-hot gas and plasma inexorably drawn by gravity into its ravenous maw, along with the light they generate.

Astronomers discover massive ring of gas circling our black hole© Provided by Penske Media Corporation nrao19cb05_afrtistimp_05232019-1170×600

The center of the Milky Way galaxy is somewhere you wouldn’t want to be. We have it pretty easy here on Earth, orbiting our star and staying out of everyone’s way, but deep within the heart of our galaxy, a monster lurks. It’s a supermassive black hole known as Sagittarius A* (that’s pronounced “A star”, for the record) and while we can’t exactly see it, we know it’s there thanks to decades of scientific observations of our own galaxy as well as many others.

The intense gravitational pull of the black hole draws in just about everything, but nearby debris it hasn’t yet swallowed up orbits in a pattern called an accretion disk. Now, new research reveals that along with dust and super-heated gases, there’s also a ring of comparatively cooler gases hanging out in the neighborhood.

Meet Katie Bouman, the MIT grad who helped capture the black-hole image

Meet Katie Bouman, the MIT grad who helped capture the black-hole image Katherine Bouman had devoted years to the astonishing quest — to help capture the first image of a massive black hole in a distant galaxy, a void so dense no light can escape. So, after the stunning image was revealed to the world Wednesday, Bouman’s excitement spilled out at what seemed the speed of light. “We’ve been busting at the seams about what we’ve seen, but we had to keep our mouths shut,” said Bouman, 29, a doctoral graduate of MIT who continued her studies at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Laboratory Black Hole Shows Stephen Hawking Was Right, Obviously. Physicists have confirmed predictions of Stephen Hawking’s namesake theory of black holes using a black hole they constructed in their lab, according to a new paper.

Astronomers think gas rings like this might form around a galaxy when it collides with another nearby. Running computer simulations to figure out how such rings of hydrogen gas might form will play a role in understanding these rare objects better, Bait says.

The research, which was published in a new paper in Nature, describes this ring of cool gas that had never before been detected, but “cool” is perhaps not the best term for it. The gas is still incredibly hot at around 18,000 degrees Fahrenheit, but that’s a lot milder than the 18 million degrees Fahrenheit of the bands of hot gas that have been detected near the black hole in the past.

How the various gases — as well as the dust and other debris in the accretion disk — gathered, and the mechanisms at work within the disk, remain a mystery. Going forward, the researchers want to further probe the inner workings of the area around the Milky Way’s black hole and perhaps learn more about how it all works.

“We were the first to image this elusive disk and study its rotation,” Elena Murchikova, lead author of the paper, said in a statement. “We are also probing accretion onto the black hole. This is important because this is our closest supermassive black hole. Even so, we still have no good understanding of how its accretion works. We hope these new ALMA observations will help the black hole give up some of its secrets.”

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