Images of the black hole at the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way, and the closest thanks to international cooperation Event Horizon Telescope (Eht) With an Italian contribution from National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF)And National Institute of Nuclear Physics (Infn)And Federico II University of Naples And University of Cagliari. the picture is there Conclusive evidence That there is a black hole in the center of the Milky Way.
The result was published in 10 articles in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, and the result was announced worldwide starting in Germany, with the European Southern Observatory (ESO); In Italy by Inaf, Infn and the two universities.
Three years after the first image of a black hole appeared, it was an image of Galaxy M87The new image conclusively confirms the presence of a black hole in the center of our galaxy: “One Conclusive evidence’, as defined by researchers at the press conference in Rome: Ciriaco Goddi of the University of Cagliari, ENAF and INFIN, Elisabetta Liuzzo Nicola Marchelli and Kazi Rigel, all of INAF, and in relation to Mariafelicia De Laurentis of Federico II University of Naples and Infin, and Rocco Lecco of the Instituto Andalusia, Andalusia and Enaf.
even in this Historic shotwork result, More than 300 researchers from 80 institutes around the world that make up together Eht cooperationthe black hole is not directly visible because Does not emit light: you see a thick one Wonderful gas ringabout the size it would be if it were around the moon, which surrounds a central dark region called “ShadeThe ring produced by distorted light from the mighty Danger From the black hole, which is four million times the mass of the Sun and is 27,000 light-years from Earth, in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius.
Although the two black holes look very similar, the Milky Way is behind them a thousand times smaller And less bulky than the M87.
The image was acquired by a worldwide network of Eight radio telescopesincluding the most powerful in the world: ALMA (Atacama Large illimeter / submillimeter Array), in which Italy participates through the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and hosts the Italian node of the European Regional Center Alma at the INAF headquarters in Bologna.
radio telescopes They work in perfect harmonyas if they were one A tool as big as the earth Together, they were guided to the heart of the galaxy for several nights in April 2017collecting data for several hours at a time, similar to capturing a long exposure with a camera.
Although Sagiuttarius A* is much closer to the first black hole immortalized in the image, obtaining an image of it was more difficult: because it is smaller, gas orbits around it very quickly, taking a few minutes to complete a revolution around it. The black hole (versus the days it takes gas around the black hole in M87). Thus, to get the image, it was necessary to make an average of the many images obtained in the search campaign.
A dream come true after 20 years
“we’ve got I dreamed of it for 20 years”: These were the first words that accompanied the image of the Milky Way’s black hole. To pronounce them, at the meeting organized in Italy at the National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF), it was Ciriaco Goddi of the University of Cagliari, Inf and the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (Infn), while the image of the Milky Way on the screen was streaming toward the galactic core, showing that kind of reddish “donut”, as the researchers jokingly called.
“It is a long-awaited result as it demonstrates the validity of predictions made in Einstein’s general theory of relativity,” said the INAF president, Marco Taffani. About the Infn Vice President, Marco Pallavicini“This is a beautiful day for research because we now have geographical and visual evidence of how important international cooperation in research is. It is proof that Italy is present at the most important scientific findings, working in synergy.”
“Getting this image has been our goal since the inception of the project, envisioned in 2000, and being able to reveal it to the world today makes up for our many years of work,” said Goddy, who has coordinated the European BlackHoleCam group since 2014. One of the projects that Eht Collaboration originated from. “Studies at the center of the galaxy have made it possible over the years to perform many tests of general relativity, but the result presented today is unprecedented because it allows many original measurements about gravity and to make a new science about supermassive black holes and their role in the ‘evolution of the universe: we have opened the doors of A new exceptional laboratory”, he noted in connection with the INAF headquarters in Rome MARIAFELIcia de Laurentiisfrom Federico II University of Naples, Infn researcher and coordinator of the working group for the Eht Collaboration on Gravity Tests.
He said it took five years to get the picture right Elisabetta Liuzzofrom the collaboration of Eht and INAF, and thousands of simulations and theoretical models Nicolas Marchelli, from INAF. To the extent that for data processing it was necessary to use “large computer infrastructures”, he said in a communication Rocco Leko, by INAF and the Spanish Institute of Astronomical Astrology in Andalusia. “In the process, an unprecedented library of black hole simulations has also been compiled for comparison with the observations,” he added.
Now we’re looking to the future and refining the tools to find new notes. Last March, for example, the Eht collaboration conducted a new observational campaign involving three new radio telescopes. “There is also an idea of a hypothetical telescope larger than Earth,” he said. Casey Rigel, from the Eht and INAF collaboration. At the moment it is just a project and the idea is to use a futuristic space telescope.
Mass, ‘Exceptional Result’
An “extraordinary” result, showing how important international cooperation is in the scientific field and how important it is for Italy to be a part of it: this is how the Minister of University and Research, Maria Cristina Mesa, commented on the image of the black hole in the center of the Milky Way. “It’s an extraordinary result, to what extent – he said – we will really only be able to achieve with time.”
“Congratulations to the large and global team of work that has given access to, and within this, Italian scientists. This discovery demonstrates – continued Minister Mesa – how important international collaborative research networks are to everyone’s progress, and how important it is for Italy to be a part of it through investment, in a continuous and stable manner over the course of The years, in large research infrastructures. Data, to strengthen and implement them more and more, and how an effort should be made to maintain these networks even in times of crisis.”
The Minister also noted that “this result also reminds us that we must not always be in a hurry to reach a certain result in a very short time: to search its own times and we must be patient to adapt to it, knowing that it will always be worth it.”
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