Wanna See Something Cool? And Slightly Scary?
Time for one of our regular visits to the world of science.
At the center of our Milky Way galaxy, there is a black hole. The gravity force at a black hole is so great that light can not escape.
The Milky Way hole is a supermassive black hole – which means it is bigger than many other black holes in space…as far as we know. This one can been “seen” by its influence on other stars nearby.
The picture of the black hole shows what scientists believe is the last visible part outside the gravity well. And, that bright white streamer looks like it is being pulled in. No escape.
How big is this black hole? Astronomers estimate it at 4,000,000 times the mass of our Sun.
The scary part…we keep discovering black holes all over the universe. Where will the next one be found? Even a small black hole (relatively speaking – pun intended) has devastating effects on its neighborhood.
The cool part of this story is how the photo was obtained. The SOFIA telescope looks at the infrared wavelengths and is flown in a NASA Boeing 747 at about 45,000 feet. It can see things that neither the big Earth observatories nor the Hubble telescope can see.