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James Webb plans to study the Milky Way's supermassive black hole

James Webb plans to study the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole

The James Webb Space Telescope plans to study the strange, faint black hole at the heart of our galaxy (the Milky Way); Which has proven to be out of reach for exploration by current telescopes, according to the specialized scientific website “livescence”.

According to the site, the telescope will join the efforts of many telescopes to understand the nature of the supermassive black hole called Sagittarius A*, whose tendency to glow every hour makes it difficult to image. The team working with the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) will also be joined by Webb’s investigators; Consisting of eight ground-based radio telescopes; The first-ever image of a black hole (M87) was taken in 2019.

In this context, although Sagittarius A* is closer than M87, its glowing nature makes the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole a more difficult target, telescope officials say. “While the M87 core provided a fixed target, arc A* displays vaguely flashing flares every hour, making imaging more difficult,” they wrote late last year 2021. “The telescope assists in its infrared images of the black hole region; which provides data on when flares are present which will be a valuable reference for the EHT team.” The thrusts occur when charged particles around the black hole are accelerated to higher energies, resulting in the emission of light.

Notably, the James Webb Telescope, which launched on December 25, is in the middle of a months-long commissioning period and will eventually image Sagittarius A* in two infrared wavelengths of deep space unimpeded by stray light; Since the EHT is on Earth, the hope is that the data collected from the telescope will complement that of the Earth’s grid and create a cleaner, easier-to-interpret image.

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For their part, the collaborators expect Webb and EHT to work together to provide more information on the causes of flares, which in turn could provide insights for studying black holes and solar flares or particle and plasma physics in general.

In turn, Farhad Yousefzadeh, lead researcher on the study, an astrophysicist at Northwestern University in Illinois, said that the first ever physical black hole was discovered in 1971.

The statement also said that the first EHT image of M87* in 2019 provided “direct visual evidence that Einstein’s predictions of a black hole were correct.”

The team of investigators added that black holes are a “proof ground” for Einstein’s theory, and the hope is that this first cooperation between “Webb” and “EHT” will allow more time for the telescope in the coming years.