An global team of scientists used the GRAVITY tool mounted on the interferometer the Very large telescope for observations of flashes of infrared radiation coming from the accretion disk around Sagittarius A* is a massive object in the center of the milky Way. According Oxford University's Josephine Peters, these recent observations are a breakthrough in the ongoing study of black holes: "Astronomers have observed material as close as you can get to a black hole without being consumed by it", Peters told Business Insider.
Astronomers used the European interferometric instrument GRAVITY, together with the Very Large Telescope in Chile to track the matter, which revolves around "Sagittarius A". When a star called S2 orbited deep into Sagittarius A*'s gravity well, they observed three flares travelling at 30 percent the speed of light. Those flares, the researchers reveal today, are the signs of superheated gas racing nearly as close to the black hole as possible without getting sucked in-at 30% the speed of light.
"This emission, from highly energetic electrons very close to the black hole, was visible as three prominent bright flares, and exactly matches theoretical predictions for hot spots orbiting close to a black hole of four million solar masses". "GRAVITY's tremendous sensitivity has allowed us to observe the accretion processes in real time in unprecedented detail". Flash in the infrared spectrum indicated scientists to the fact that the gas rotates around the event horizon of a black hole.
"We were closely monitoring S2, and of course we always keep an eye on Sagittarius A*", said Oliver Pfuhl, a scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics. But these observations mark the first time scientists can confirm their long-held theory. The result of the research was "compelling confirmation of the doctrine", that the huge object in the milky way center is a massive black hole.
"This always was one of our dream projects but we did not dare to hope that it would become possible so soon", lead author and MPE scientist Reinhard Genzel said.