Confirmed: Monstrous Black Hole Lurks in Our Galaxy's Center

By Eliza Strickland | December 10, 2008 10:58 am

Milky Way centerAstronomers have determined beyond all reasonable doubt that the heart of the Milky Way is a supermassive black hole, two research teams say. Astronomers have inferred the existence of a gravitational monster in the center of our galaxy for years, but the new results are “the best empirical evidence that super-massive black holes do really exist” [CNN], said researcher Reinhard Genzel.

Similar supermassive black holes are thought to form the center of many spiral and elliptical galaxies, and astronomer Robert Massey says the results suggest that galaxies form around giant black holes in the way that a pearl forms around grit. Dr Massey said: “Although we think of black holes as somehow threatening, in the sense that if you get too close to one you are in trouble, they may have had a role in helping galaxies to form – not just our own, but all galaxies” [BBC News]. Massey explains that if a black holes brings enough matter together in a dense cluster, it creates ripe conditions for the formations of stars and galaxies.

The gravity of black holes is so powerful that not even light can escape from them, which makes direct observation of them impossible; researchers instead had to study the stars in the Milky Way’s center to determine whether they were being influenced by a black hole. Or to put it more poetically: Just as swirling leaves caught in a gust of wind can provide clues about air currents, so the stars’ movements reveal information about forces at work at the galactic centre [Telegraph].

Over a period of 16 years, beginning in 1992, researchers monitored 28 stars orbiting the Milky Way’s central region, where the supermassive black hole called Sagittarius A* is thought to lurk. By watching how the central stars orbited Sagittarius A*, to which they are gravitationally bound, the researchers inferred properties of the black hole itself, such as mass and distance []. They determined that the enormous thing has a mass equivalent to that of 4 million suns, and that it lies 27,000 light-years away from Earth. The new confirmation comes from two separate teams, one in Europe and one in the United States; both studies will be published in upcoming issues of the Astrophysical Journal.

Related Content:
80beats: Researchers Look Into a Black Hole (But Does the Black Hole Look Back?)
DISCOVER: Black Hole Feasts at Milky Way’s Center
DISCOVER: The Mysterious Middle of the Milky Way

Image: ESO/S. Gillessen et al.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Physics & Math, Space
MORE ABOUT: black holes, galaxies
  • thomas boles

    there’s no black hole in the middle of the galaxy

  • fred edision

    This evidence of a black hole playing with stars is awesome to the max. A movie years in the making. What an achievement and well worth the time.

  • thomas edison

    This black hole sounds pretty awesome! I just hope that it doesn’t develope into a threat to Earth! I bet we will discover a lot more out in our galaxy!

  • a.k.satsangi


    I have written following two papers which may lead to the realization for a higher theory of everything:

    (i) Gravitation Force is the Ultimate Creator,
    (1st Int. Conf. on Revival of Traditional Yoga, Lonavla Yoga Institute, Lonavla, January, 2006)
    (ii) In Scientific Terminology, Source of Gravitational Wave is God
    (2nd World Congress on Vedic Science, BHU, Varanasi, Feb 2007)
    I have presented these two papers at the two different International Conferences. I am now submitting some views for being considered for Unified Field Theory

    From Scriptures: (Prem Patra by His Holiness Huzur Maharaj)
    The Current which manifested in the beginning of the creation is the Current of Sabda (Sound) and of Chaitanya (Consciousness). From whom that Current issued forth is known as Soami (Supreme Being). This Current, by turning back can merge again in the Holy Feet of Supreme Being. The entire creation manifested from this current and is sustained with its energy and when the Current of the Holy Feet is withdrawn, the creation ceases to exist.This Current of the Holy Feet is the Reservoir of all energy, tastes and pleasures, knowledge, skill, shapes, forces and light etc. etc. and of the entire creation, is also the Creator of all of them.

    From Science:
    Gravitation Force is the cause of manifestation of the creation (birth of planets, stars), its sustenance and when it is withdrawn towards centre or source the entire creation ceases to exist. Photons have originated from gravitons. In black holes photons merge into gravitons. In Black Holes, Gravitational Force is so high that it does not allow even light to escape. What does it mean then? It simply means that the gravitational force at black-holes attracts light towards it with much greater velocity than the speed of light. In fact, all forces including electromagnetic force, material force (strong and weak nuclear force) all merge into gravitational force in black-holes and becomes one force there and when the creational process starts again from a Black-Hole all the forces appear (manifest) again and descends downwards to create billions of stars, planets, satellite, asteroids and various life forms.

    Hence it can be assumed that the Current of Chaitanya (Consciousness) and Gravitational Wave are the two names of the same Supreme Essence (Seed) which has brought forth the entire creation.

    All cosmological researches should be conducted keeping in view of the following philosophical facts:

    According to Bible (John I-1) “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,”

    Mohammedans hold that God uttered ‘Kun’ (i.e. ‘Came into being’) and the creation came into being (Holy Quran, Sur. Bakr (II.117).

    In Chhandogya Upanishad it is written “Tadaikshat bahu syam prajayeyeti” (VI-2-iii) i.e. “It thought (desired) Would that I were many! Let me procreate myself!” The Aitareya Upanishad says,”Sa ikshat ‘lokannusrija’ iti (I-1-i) i.e. “He bethought himself (desired) – ‘Let me create worlds’, etc. etc.

    It is written in Chapter VII of Srimad Bhagavadgita : Sri Bhagwan said, “Arjun, now listen how with the mind attached to Me and practicing Yoga with absolute dependence on Me, you will know Me in entirety and without any shadow of doubt” (1). I shall unfold to you in its entirety this wisdom alongwith the Knowledge of the qualified aspect of God, having known which nothing else remains yet to be known in this world (2). Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, reason and also ego; these constitute My nature eightfold divided. This indeed is My lower (material) nature : the other than this, by which the whole universe is sustained, know it to be My higher nature in the form of Jiva, O Arjuna. (4-5). Arjuna, know that all beings have evolved from this twofold Prakriti, and that I am the source of the entire creation, and into Me again it disappears.(6)

    The Radhasoami Religion also tells that, the ‘Word’ mentioned above is in fact Current of Sound or Current of Consciousness or Prime Current of Spirituality which was issued forth from its Source, or Creator or God. This Current has later on produced light and other forces. The scientists are discussing these days about dark energy which constitute about 96% of the entire universe which is not known to us. Only 4% part of the universe is known to us by all scientific means. In fact this 96% invisible portion of the universe is the vast expanse of spirituality which can be designated as field of gravitational waves in scientific terms. Visible portion of the universe (4%) consists of consciousness (gravitational force), mental force (electromagnetic waves) and material force (strong and weak nuclear force).

  • The Domino Effect

    Stop being negative. These physicists are the ones giving you a good future to live in. Discourage them and you’ll be watching football all day, which some may find nice. Science works in the background as you can see

  • JAMES T.

    Hmmm…… If there is one which i think there is i wouldn’t mine it seems pretty cool and is gonna make a sweet report!

  • mharratsc

    “Just as swirling leaves caught in a gust of wind can provide clues about air currents, so the stars’ movements reveal information about forces at work at the galactic centre”

    It’s a bit of a jump to say that the stars in orbit at the center of the galaxy indicate irrifutable proof of the mathematical error of a ‘black hole’, wouldn’t you say? I would have to suggest that the best research so far shows that stars orbit a chaotic maelstrom at the center of the galaxy. No one’s been able to peer inside the sucker yet, I’d warrant.

    Besides, what of the 400 some-odd stars in orbit around the galactic center that “shouldn’t be there”? The ones that are so close that “gravitational tidal forces should’ve torn them apart before they even formed”??

    And for that matter- explain again how the ‘black holes’ at the center of the galaxy that are so strong that “light cannot escape them” yet they are giant particle accellerators spewing ions out in collimated jets on their polar axis? Gravity so strong that it traps photons… but it lets *charged matter* escape???

    Fuzzy math and faith in the Old Men’s Establishment, gents and ladies. Unwarranted faith.

    99% plasma Unverse, folks. No theory is real without accepting that electron currents and ions in motion are part of the equation. Maxwells Law > Newtons.

  • mharratsc

    By the way, A.K. Satsangi- not to cast aspersions on your spirituality and with all due respect, but electromagnetic attraction is 27 orders of magnitude greater than gravitational attraction :

  • A.K.Satsangi

    Not every where, mharratsc. At black holes there is only gravitational force.

  • Dave

    Matter is energy, energy cannot be created nor destroyed, only transformed from one form of energy to another. If matter is suspended and unable to stay in motion, its entire structure is transformed too a diamond grid like shape. Light will bend around it and time is altered. The sun or solar plasma in fusion is in constant motion; with its poles always alternating. What if a weak magnetic field such as an alignment of planets is induced into the sun. Causing the solar mass to mimic suspension, gravity so powerful light that it emits never leaves its surface. Since time would cease; we the observer would never see a change in suns light. And items as well as people vanishing from earth, due to zero energy is a possibility. What if ?

  • Dave

    Give me time to show you what I mean. Type in ( youtube/ The true story of the Philadelpha Expirament 1. Its about 10 minutes of your time and notice what a magnetic field can do and just what I mean.

  • workfromhomeonline

    this is awesome!!! genius work there, its definately worth the read.

  • Dave

    Still not convinced Youtube/Extreme Mysteries/Coral Castle pt1 about 10 minutes. Its in Florida, Ed Leedskalnin used a alternating magnet made from a tire rim and a frequency to break the bonds of gravity. Part 2 gives more detail worth checking out, 9 minutes long.


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