Skip to content

Astronomers Confirm Black Hole at the Heart of the Milky Way

Mark Henderrson

From Times Online

December 9, 2008

Thanks to Psychedelicadventurer.

the heart of the Milky Way taken in near infra-red light

The nature of the black hole can be inferred from the pattern of motion of the stars that surround it.

A swarm of stars orbiting a vast black hole at the centre of the Milky Way has been mapped with remarkable precision, providing astronomers with their most detailed look yet at the heart of our galaxy.

Observations by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile have found the strongest evidence yet for a supermassive black hole at the galaxy’s core, as well as charting the immense gravitational effects this has on the surrounding stars.

Over 16 years, the orbits of 28 stars in the Milky Way’s central region have been meticulously tracked by astronomers, allowing them to study the hidden black hole that influences their movements.

The black hole, known as Sagittarius A* (pronounced “Sagittarius A-star”), cannot be seen directly, but its nature can be inferred from the pattern of motion of the stars that surround it. Details of the research are published in the Astrophysical Journal.

Reinhard Genzel, of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany, who led the international study team, said: “Undoubtedly the most spectacular aspect of our long term study is that it has delivered what is now considered to be the best empirical evidence that supermassive black holes do really exist. The stellar orbits in the galactic centre show that the central mass concentration of four million solar masses must be a black hole, beyond any reasonable doubt.

“The centre of the galaxy is a unique laboratory where we can study the fundamental processes of strong gravity, stellar dynamics and star formation that are of great relevance to all other galactic nuclei, with a level of detail that will never be possible beyond our galaxy.”

His colleague Stefan Gillessen said: “The galactic centre harbours the closest supermassive black hole known. Hence, it is the best place to study black holes in detail.”

The observations have also allowed astronomers to pinpoint the Earth’s distance from the centre of the galaxy with greater precision, measuring it at 27,000 light years. Scientists have also been able to identify common properties among the stellar orbits at the galactic centre.

“The stars in the innermost region are in random orbits, like a swarm of bees,” Dr Gillessen said. “However, further out, six of the 28 stars orbit the black hole in a disc. In this respect the new study has also confirmed explicitly earlier work in which the disc had been found, but only in a statistical sense.

“Ordered motion outside the central light-month, randomly oriented orbits inside – that’s how the dynamics of the young stars in the galactic centre are best described.”

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Sky permalink
    July 11, 2010 11:53 am

    I understand the anticipation that seems to be building at this time. What puzzles me is there is a trend that people are following with an absolute belief that the Mayan’s have the only known knowledge of what is to come for us, and our world.

    I find it hard to put 100% faith/belief in a people who sacrificed fellow human beings….men, women, children. This doesn’t resonate with me… that they were as advanced as we would like to say they were, and it does in NO way denote spiritual superiority.

    As for the Black Holes…..I think you’re absolutely right, they are doorways.

    • July 11, 2010 12:15 pm


      I think you’ll find that the Mayans who prepared the calendar were not the same as the Mayans who sacrificed humans. Similarly, priests who assist downtrodden Central Americans to oppose dictatorship are not the same as priests who tortured people in the Inquisition.

      Other peoples also knew of the end of this cycle – Egyptians and Hindus, for instance. I feel less able to say positively that Tibetans and Pueblo Indians also knew of these times, but I have heard from some speakers that they did.

      I agree with you that anyone who sacrifices human beings (notice we do not extend that to sacrificing animals; I personally am having more and more trouble with our killing of animals as time goes on) has no spiritual standing.

      Thanks for your comment.


  2. July 6, 2010 12:07 pm

    This write up on the Milky Way Galaxy black hole is nothing new to the Mayan Timekeepers back when they were living on the Earth in 3114 BCE. and we all know now in the 21 Century that they were super in overall astronomy. The Mayan astronomers said when Mother Gaia enters the cycle of December 21 2012, there will be a rip in the fabric of time.

    It ends 20 kinchiltuns =1 alautum =23.040,000,000, days of Earth’s times as we know of it, back in the 1980’s I was a new member of the Sudbury Astronomy club here in Northern Ontario, Canada. They had a speaker come to our club and talk about Black holes. Well, he asked the members what do we think a black hole is????, I put up my hand and said===a black hole is a doorway!!!? He looked at me as if I was out of my mind.

    Well, some years later I found out I was right as you know all energies go into a black hole and exit out at the other end as a white hole. That is a doorway into another paradigm on a different galactic plane. The Maya called the black hole the womb of life as they were HEBs – highly evolved beings – who were light years ahead of us humans.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: