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Precise Measurement of Supermassive Black Hole Mass at Milky Way’s Center

(Photo: scientificamerican)

Revolutionary Discovery Unveils the Secrets of the Milky Way’s Supermassive Black Hole Mass

Astronomers have achieved a significant breakthrough in determining the supermassive black hole mass at the center of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A*. (Photo: reddit)

Breakthrough Research Illuminates the Milky Way’s Supermassive Black Hole Mass with Dazzling Flares

According to source, astronomers have made a significant breakthrough in their understanding of the supermassive black hole mass at the center of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A*. The Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) has determined with high accuracy the supermassive black hole mass and radius of this enigmatic supermassive black hole finding it to be an astonishing 4.297 million times the supermassive black hole mass of our Sun, with a radius smaller than the orbit of Venus around the Sun. This precise measurement was achieved by studying the luminous gas orbiting around Sagittarius A* using data from the near-infrared interferometer at the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI).

The researchers were particularly interested in bright flashes of electromagnetic radiation, or flares, generated by the swirling gas around the supermassive black hole. These flares provided a means to track the motion of the supermassive black hole mass. Analysis of flares observed in 2018, 2021 and 2022 enabled the team to estimate the supermassive black hole mass with a high degree of accuracy.

Importantly, these results aligned with previous estimates but offered a more reliable measurement since the flares were closer to the supermassive black hole mass compared to stars used in earlier measurements.

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Unveiling the Vast Gravitational Reach of Sagittarius A* in the Heart of Our Galaxy

The researchers calculated the supermassive black hole of Sagittarius A* in terms of “gravitational radii” representing the distance from the supermassive black hole mass’s center to its event horizon the point of no return for matter and energy. The calculated gravitational radii for Sagittarius A* were approximately 0.1 astronomical units, or one-tenth the distance from Earth to the Sun.

This size is relatively large considering the Sun’s gravitational radii is approximately 3 kilometers (1.9 miles). These findings provide strong evidence for a single supermassive black hole mass at the center of the Milky Way.

Furthermore, the measurements suggest a physical connection between the flares and a distant stellar disk hinting at insights into the formation of structures in the Galactic Center. The team hopes that data from these flares may eventually shed light on the supermassive black hole mass’s spin a remaining mystery in the study of these cosmic enigmas.

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