It is now confirmed: Our Galaxy hosts a supermassive black hole!

Credit: ESO

Astronomers detected flares of infrared radiation coming from Sagittarius A*, the massive object at the heart of our Galaxy, This observation confirms that Sagittarius A* is indeed a supermassive black hole (SMBH)!!

The flares were detected using the GRAVITY instrument on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) Interferometer. GRAVITY combines the light from four telescopes of VLT to create a virtual super telescope 130 meters in diameter!! Further analysis revealed that the flares come from material that is orbiting very close to the event horizon of the black hole (BH). That is the closest orbit to a black hole that matter can orbit without being drawn inwards by the immense gravitational force of the BH. 

GRAVITY’s sensitivity has allowed us to detect material accreting onto a SMBH in unprecedented detail and confirm that our Galaxy hosts s SMBH at its centre!!

Publication: Abuter et al. 2018

Source: ESO