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Meet Sgr A*: Zooming into the black hole at the centre of our galaxy

12 May, 2022 / Read time: 2 minutes

This video shows a zoom sequence into the black hole Sgr A*, at the centre of our galaxy. This is the first image of this celestial object, and has been captured by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration, in which the participation of the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) stands out.

Beginning with a broad view of the Milky Way from the Array Operation Site (AOS), we dive into the dense clouds of gas and dust at our galactic centre. The stars here have been observed for decades, the black hole’s immense gravitational pull distorting the orbits of the stars closest to it. Finally, we arrive at Sgr A*. The black hole is shown by a dark central region called a shadow, surrounded by a ring of luminous gas and dust.

The various observations used here were taken at different times, by different equipment and with different facilities, and put together in order to achieve the zoom effect. The images range from visible wavelengths at first to infrared, and the final image is taken at radio wavelengths.

Credit: ESO/L. Calçada, N. Risinger (skysurvey.org), DSS, VISTA, VVV Survey/D. Minniti DSS, Nogueras-Lara et al., Schoedel, NACO, GRAVITY Collaboration, EHT Collaboration (Music: Azul Cobalto)