Monday, April 9, 2012

Seeing the Invisible, 04.05.12

If you have ever paid a visit to the Wetherbee Planetarium here at Thronateeska Heritage Center, chances are you have heard a good deal about our film, “Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity.” In the film, all manner of evidence is put forward about the existence of a black hole in the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. The film describes research done at the Keck Telescope in Hawai’i, where several stars have been recorded orbiting in a very strange manner the center of the Milky Way., today (04.05.12), published more information detailing re­cent studies on this supposed supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. Telescopes have yet to reveal it. With the technology we have now, we simply cannot see anything there. Plans are in the works for bigger and better detection methods, but for now, the area known as Sagittarius A* (pronounced Sagittarius A-Star) seems to be a great big empty space of nothingness that somehow manages to make some stars orbit around it at mind-blowing speeds of over 3,000 miles a second.
CREDIT: Alain R. | Wikimedia Commons 
Astronomers know that something has to be there. Analysis shows that something packing more than 4 million times the mass of our own sun is there, yet it still cannot be seen. It does emit some radio waves, but aside from that, there is not much else to go on. Much research remains to be done to know for sure about this monster at the center of the Milky Way. One thing is certain: whatever it is, it is proving to be one great big mathematical migraine.
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