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SgrA Black Hole In Milky Way Galaxy- UPSC Current Affairs

May 25, 2022


In today’s edition of our Current Affairs Dialog box, we will discuss about SgrA BLACK HOLE IN MILKY WAY GALAXY. Navigate through the blog to understand the topic in detail and enhance your UPSC CSE preparation. Also, we have listed the topic’s relevance to the UPSC syllabus.

For Prelims: General Science

For Mains: General awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nanotechnology, Biotechnology.

Also, read our yesterday’s edition of the Current Affairs Dialog box in this linked article.

Why in the News?

Recently, Scientists from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) facility, a collaboration of over 300 researchers, revealed the first image of the black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

Probable Question

What do you understand by the black hole? Discuss the significance of the visual from the Event Horizon Telescope.

Key Points

About Sagittarius A* (SgrA*)

  • Sagittarius A* is a supermassive black hole that sits 26,000 light years away from Earth, near the Galactic Centre, or the centre of the Milky Way.
  • This image of the black hole is referred to as Sagittarius A* (SgrA*).
  • Since the discovery of Sagittarius A* 24 years ago, it has been fairly calm. 
  • This year, Sagittarius A* has shown unusual activity, and the area around it has been much brighter than usual.
  • The ring-shaped image of SgrA*, which looked a lot similar to the one of M87*, occupied 52 micro arcseconds in the field of view.
  • The whole exercise was possible because of the enormous power of the Event Horizon Telescope, an ensemble of several telescopes around the world, which together were like a giant eye on the earth with a sight that is 3 million times sharper than the human eye. 

Earlier Image of Black Hole

  • In 2019, the Event Horizon Telescope made history by releasing the first-ever image of a black hole M87*.
    • This black hole is located at the centre of a galaxy Messier 87, which is a supergiant elliptic galaxy.

How is Sagittarius A* different from M87*?

  • Imaging Sagittarius A* (SgrA*) was much more difficult than imaging M87* for the following reasons: 
    • SgrA* is only one-thousandth the size of M87*, 
    • The line of sight of SgrA* is obscured by a lot of matter and 
    • The Variability of SgrA* makes it difficult to image.

Significance of this Discovery:

  • It gave further support to the idea that the compact object at the centre of our galaxy is indeed a black hole. 
  • This strengthens Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

Also watch:

About Black Hole:

A black hole is an object in space that is so dense and has such strong gravity that no matter or light can escape its pull. Because no light can escape, it is black and invisible.
The inner region of a black hole, where the object's mass lies, is known as its singularity, the single point in space-time where the mass of the black hole is concentrated.

What is Event Horizon?

The event horizon of a black hole is the boundary around the mouth of the black hole, past which light cannot escape. Once a particle crosses the event horizon, it cannot leave. Gravity is constant across the event horizon.

About Event Horizon Telescope:

Event horizon telescope consists of eight radio observatories around the world, including telescopes in Spain, the US and Antarctica
In 2006, an international team of more than 200 researchers, led by Harvard University astronomers, launched the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project with a sole aim: to capture a direct shot of a black hole.

Thirteen partner institutions worked together to create the EHT, using both pre-existing infrastructure and support from a variety of agencies.

The EHT observations use a technique called very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI) which synchronises telescope facilities around the world and exploits the rotation of our planet to form one huge, Earth-size telescope observing at a wavelength of 1.3 mm.

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