What is at the center of our galaxy? Decades of calculations and data point to a supermassive black hole, about 4 million times more massive than our sun. But we never are seen then. This may be about to change.

The Event Horizon Telescope project is on May 12 will reveal what he calls “revolutionary results of the Milky Way.” Although details are scarce about what exactly will be revealed, it is likely that astronomers were able to take a picture of the supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way for the first time.

In April 2019, the cooperation of EHT revealed the first image of a different black holethe supermassive beast at the center of the Messier 87 galaxy, called M87 *.

The Event Horizon telescope was able to generate the image with the help of eight radio telescopes from around the world. Synchronizing these telescopes helped create the image at the top of this article. Although it looks a bit like a campfire out of focus, it was a breakthrough: the first time humans saw the most fascinating and confusing objects in the universe.

Further work was revealed extreme magnetic fields associated with M87 *which allows scientists to further understand the environment around the black hole.

But EHT didn’t just study M87 *. The package of telescopes that make it up also focused on the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, known as Sagittarius A * or Sgr A *. The black hole is about 4.3 million times more massive than the sun and is only 25,000 light-years from Earth – close, in space terms. For comparison, M87 * is about 6 billion times more massive and about 50 million light-years from Earth.

Imaging Sgr A * is much more difficult than M87 * because there are many more things – space gas and dust – which interfere with radio telescopes when looking at the heart of our native galaxy. That’s why it was “easier” (and I use that term very loosely) to get a picture of the M87 * first.

But … could EHT overcome these problems? Announcing a result like this means that something big is coming, and this is the same book used by the collaboration in announcing the results of M87 *. To be clear from the outset, press releases from the EHT collaboration do not imply that we will get a new picture of a black hole. They just call it a revolutionary discovery in the Milky Way, but given the history of EHT, it’s hard to imagine what else it could be.

This makes it difficult to say exactly what the revolutionary result will be, my bet will be on the second picture of a black hole and the first image of the space hippopotamus of our home galaxy.

After talking to astronomers not involved in the EHT project on Thursday and scrolling through Twitter, it seems that almost everyone believes that this will be an image of the dark heart of our galaxy.

So, astronomers, please: Just tell us there’s a great picture of Sgr A *. Tell us we’ll be able to see the supermassive black hole in the Milky Way on May 12th. We put two and two together! This is not a Marvel movie! You don’t have to give us this scene after the credits to annoy us about the sequel. We know what you’re doing and we buy tickets for the show anyway.

And if this is not another image of a black hole, then radio telescopes have found something something else which guarantees such a premonition – you will still want to tune in.

The results will be presented during a press conference on May 12 at 6 am PT (9 am ET) and you can follow. Will be broadcast live on the website of the US National Science Foundation, and CNET certainly has coverage, so you can follow here. Just check back on Thursday.


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