Astronomers close to seeing the unseeable

November 3, 2005

Astronomers say they've identified a "supermassive" black hole with a diameter 20 times that of the sun at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. (see also http://www.physorg.com/news7831.html)

Chinese astronomer Shen Zhiqing and his team of four U.S.-based researchers say they have the first concrete proof of a black hole, the Shanghai Daily reported Wednesday.

"We have finally revealed concrete evidence of a black hole that astronomers have sought for years," said Shen, a researcher at the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory.

Black holes are collapsed stars with a mass so dense that nothing, not even light, can escape their powerful gravitational pull.

"We're getting tantalizingly close to being able to see an unmistakable signature that would provide the first concrete proof of a supermassive black hole at a galaxy's center," Shen said in a news release. He said he believes the black hole has a mass four million times that of the sun.

He and colleagues, including Fred Lo, director of the U.S. National Radio Astronomical Observatory, have spent eight years, using a U.S. network of radio telescopes to study the black hole.

They report their findings in the current issue of the journal Nature.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Tech startup bets on slow water to power our future

Related Stories

Tech startup bets on slow water to power our future

September 14, 2016

It's a perfect summer afternoon on the Saint Clair River, on the Canadian border just north of Detroit. Pleasure boats skim across the bright blue water as picnickers watch from the grassy bank. They don't notice the fat ...

Black hole makes material wobble around it

July 12, 2016

The European Space Agency's orbiting X-ray observatory, XMM-Newton, has proved the existence of a "gravitational vortex" around a black hole. The discovery, aided by NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) mission, ...

Recommended for you

Earth's days getting longer: study

December 7, 2016

Earth's days are getting longer but you're not likely to notice any time soon—it would take about 6.7 million years to gain just one minute, according to a study published on Wednesday.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.