Thursday, September 11, 2008

Black Hole Seen in Closest Look Ever

A supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way has wound up in the crosshairs of a virtual telescope spanning 2,800 miles (4,506 kilometers).

Ground-based radio telescopes in Hawaii, Arizona, and California aimed at Sagittarius A*—also called A-star—obtained the image (above, a previous picture of the black hole).

The star is believed to mark the position of a atramentous aperture four actor times the sun's mass.

Though unproven, there is strong evidence for the existence of black holes.

The black hole companion of Sagittarius A may be shunning the limelight now, but Shep Doeleman, an astronomer at MITs Haystack Observatory who led a recent study on the object, said it can't hide much longer.

Doeleman and his team say the source of the radiation is apparently a deejay of amount bouncing against the black hole, or a accelerated jet of amount actuality ejected from it.

"Now that we've shown it can be done, it's just a matter of time before we'll have very detailed information about what happens as matter is drawn near to the black hole and disappears forever," Doeleman said.