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On February 5, 2023 I will celebrate my 70th birthday. Yay! As I do every year during this birthday month, I run a campaign to raise money to support my work here at Behind The Black. I do not run ads. My only support comes from my readers, which leaves me utterly free to speak my mind openly about space, culture, and politics. Please consider supporting me in this work by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, in any one of the following ways:

 

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First radio image of event horizon of Milky Way’s central black hole

Sagittarius A*
Click for full image.

Using an array of eight radio telescopes worldwide, dubbed the Event Horizon Telescope because its purpose is to study black holes, scientists have obtained the first radio image of the event horizon of Sagittarius A* (pronounced “A-star”), the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

The image to the right, reduced to post here, is that photo.

The image is a long-anticipated look at the massive object that sits at the very centre of our galaxy. Scientists had previously seen stars orbiting around something invisible, compact, and very massive at the centre of the Milky Way. This strongly suggested that this object — known as Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*, pronounced “sadge-ay-star”) — is a black hole, and today’s image provides the first direct visual evidence of it.

Although we cannot see the black hole itself, because it is completely dark, glowing gas around it reveals a telltale signature: a dark central region (called a “shadow”) surrounded by a bright ring-like structure. The new view captures light bent by the powerful gravity of the black hole, which is four million times more massive than our Sun.

This is the second supermassive black hole that the Event Horizon array has imaged. In 2019 it captured the central black hole of the galaxy M87, 55 million light years away. Like that first image, much of what we see here is created by computer, since the data from the eight radio telescopes needs to be massaged to create something as smooth and as complete as this.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

 

Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

9 comments

  • Phill O

    Not to mention, the human eye does not see radiowaves.

    Great image!

  • Col Beausabre

    Not to mention, the human eye does not see radiowaves.

    Except for those of us who have evolved further than the masses

  • GaryMike

    To clarify for those who think the dark center of the image is the black hole itself, the dark center is the shadow of the black hole acting like the occulting disk in a solar telescope.

  • wayne

    The Black Hole Image (M87) Explained
    Veritasium –>from 2019
    https://youtu.be/zUyH3XhpLTo
    9:18

    explains the geometry very well

  • GaryMike

    Thank you.

    I learned more stuff.

    Like, no matter how much you know, it ain’t enough.

  • wayne

    GaryMike-
    -check out Scott Manley as well for nicely done black-hole info.

    “Mass of Sagittarius A* calculated from SO-2 (S2) Star’s Orbital Parameters”
    Dr. Andrew R. Ochadlick Jr (2016)
    https://youtu.be/mT1_vol_F_0
    7:08

  • Star Bird

    When will they find a Worm Hole to the further away and the Galactic Barrier?

  • Steven Carleton

    They’ve covered this in episodes of “How the Universe Works” on Discovery Channel.
    They featured an MIT prof (Seth something) who they seemed to present as the brain behind it all.
    The global radio telescopes gather so much data that they have to ship the hard-drives to MIT, since the public internet would take too long to transfer terabytes of data every hour.

  • Steven Carleton

    https://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/andrea-ghez-wins-2020-nobel-prize-in-physics

    Well deserved! She and her team spent countless nights, year after year, recording how Sag-A at our galactic core flung stars around at incredible velocities. They had to look deep into the core of the Milky Way from the Keck telescope, looking for minute data blips on computer screens. Monica also could back up her observations with theories to describe the data. Say, how does one get some time on Keck?

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