The image was made possible by connecting eight existing radio observatories around the world to form a single Earth-sized virtual telescope that collected data for many hours over several nights.
This new image could look very similar to the 2019 one from M87 *, but the masses of the two black holes and the types of galaxies that surround them are very different. Researchers have been able to determine that Sagittarius A *, located at the center of our small spiral galaxy, consumes gas much slower than M87 *, which is located at the center of a giant elliptical galaxy and emits a powerful jet of plasma.
Although he was much closer to us, Sagittarius A * was much harder to catch than M87 *. This is because the gas surrounding Sagittarius A * completes orbit in just a few minutes compared to days or weeks for gas orbiting a much larger M87 *, causing a rapid change in the brightness and pattern of the gas. The team compared the shooting to “trying to make a clear picture of a puppy chasing its tail quickly”. To make the black hole visible, they developed sophisticated new tools to explain gas movements.
“If Sagittarius A * was the size of a donut, M87 * would be the size of the Allianz Arena, a football stadium in Munich just a few kilometers from where we are today,” said Sarah Issaoun, a NASA Einstein Fellow at the Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. journalists at the European Southern Observatory in Germany. “This similarity reveals to us a key aspect of black holes regardless of their size or the environment in which they live. Once you reach the edge of a black hole, gravity takes over.”