"The X-Games of Astronomy" --Scientists Close to Taking Actual Pictures of Milky Way's Supermassive Black Hole (WATCH Today's 'Galaxy' Stream)22 Sep 2017, 15:16 UTC
A super-powered radio telescopes has turned the Earth into one giant eye --the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a multinational effort involving more than 100 researchers--all pointing to Sagittarius A*—the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy first forecast by Albert Einstein and his theory of general relativity, and since then the subject of study by countless theoretical physicists, among them the famous cosmic detective Stephen Hawking.
The EHT plan focuses on the relatively small but "nearby" supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy and the distant, but extremely massive, black hole at the center of the galaxy M87, a supergiant elliptical galaxy in the constellation Virgo shown below--the most massive black hole for which a precise mass has been measured -6.6 billion solar masses. Orbiting the galaxy is an abnormally large population of about 12,000 globular clusters, compared to 150-200 globular clusters orbiting the Milky Way. The M87 black hole grew to its massive size by merging with several other black holes.
"While the event horizons of big supermassive black holes are relatively large (about the size of a solar system) the EHT's two targets are still very, very far ...