Scientists take for the first time an image of a slight swirling ring of hydrogen around the black hole of our galaxy



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Astronomers, for the first time, broke the image of a cold, gaseous ring that swirled around the supermassive black hole in the center of our galaxy.

This ring is part of the so-called accretion disk – stars, dust and gas – that surrounds most black holes. These materials are kept close by the strong gravitational grip of the black hole and the far edge represents the outer limits of its gravitational reach. In the case of the black hole of the Milky Way called Sagittarius A *, the disc extends a few tenths of a light year from the horizon of the black hole events – the point where even the light can not escape the reach of the black hole. [9 Ideas About Black Holes That Will Blow Your Mind]

According to a statement from the National Observatory of Radioastronomy, there are some types of gas that make up parts of this accretion disk, and scientists previously recorded only very hot and glowing gases. Because these gases are very hot – about 10 million degrees Celsius (18 million degrees Fahrenheit) – they emit X-rays that are easy to detect by researchers.

But this accretion disk also contains colder hydrogen – 10,000 ° C (18,000 F) – although it has never been photographed before. According to the statement, the radiation in the area causes the loss and constant conquest of hydrogen atoms, an activity that releases weak radio waves.

The team detected these radio waves using the ALMA (Atmama Large Millimeter Array) observatory in Chile and assembled the measurements in the new image.

Using radio wave signals, the researchers took the very first image of the weak, cold ring of hydrogen that surrounds Sagittarius A *. The plus sign represents the black hole, the red color represents the gas moving away from our planet and the blue color represents the gas heading towards our planet. Original image

Credit: ALMA (ESO / NAOJ / NRAO), E.M. Murchikova; NRAO / AUI / NSF, S. Dagnello

The cold hydrogen ring is located about one hundredth of light-year from the black hole event horizon and contains a quantity of hydrogen equivalent to one tenth of the mass of Jupiter, according to the release. In addition, because of what is called "Doppler effect", which makes the light of objects moving towards our planet slightly more "blue" and that of objects moving away from our slightly more "red" planet, turning around the black hole.

"We hope that these new observations from ALMA will help the black hole solve some of its secrets," said lead author Elena Murchikova, an astrophysicist at the Princeton Institute of Advanced Studies, in a statement. New Jersey.

The researchers reported their findings on June 5 in the journal Nature.

Originally published on Science live.

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