The Milky Way’s Supermassive Black Hole Might Be Pointing Directly At Us

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Sagittarius A* – the Milky Way’s biggest supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy – is unleashing radio jets, which are pointed almost straight toward Earth. Black holes do not emit any light that can be detected but certain ones to expel radio jets. This occurs when vast amounts of gasses around black holes begins swirling so fast that it actually releases friction in the form of X-rays and radio waves – which is how scientists usually search for black holes.

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Black hole WARNING: Radio jet is pointed directly towards Earth (Image: NASA)

In this instance, researchers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope in Chile have noticed that the radio jets from Sagittarius A* are pointed right towards us.

In a new paper led by University of Nijmegen PhD student Sara Issaoun published in the Astrophysical Journal, the experts managed to look behind the vast amount of gas which obscures the view from Earth to Sagittarius A* for the first time ever to make the discovery.

To do so, the researchers mapped out exactly the scattered light which blocks out the view of the black hole to produce an image of the region of spacetimes surrounding properties.

The team found that the black hole’s radio jet is pointing a 300 millionth of a degree away from Earth.

"This may indicate that the radio emission is produced in a disk of infalling gas rather than by a radio jet.

"However, that would make Sagittarius A* an exception compared to other radio-emitting black holes. The alternative could be that the radio jet is pointing almost at us."

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"The radio jet is pointing almost at us." (Image: S. Issaoun, M. Mościbrodzka (Radboud University) / M. D. Johnson (CfA))

There is no need to threat, according to the team, as the jet will no cause Earth any harm, but the research helps to create an unprecedented image of the black hole.

Future studies will also help experts better understand black holes, which remain largely mysterious and equally baffling.

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