Scientists confirm supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy

It has been suspected for some time that there is a supermassive black hole located at the center of our galaxy, named Sagittarius A*. Now scientists have uncovered more evidence about the black hole which they shared in an announcement on October 31.

Cosmologists have used the Very Large Telescope (VLT) to observe flares of infrared radiation from the disk of debris surrounding Sagittarius A* (pronounced A-Star), which is strong evidence that it is a supermassive black hole. A consortium of scientists at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) used the GRAVITY telescope interferometer to observe three bright flares orbiting around Sagittarius A* at a tremendous speed of 30 percent of the speed of light. The flares are believed to be caused by the heated gases that orbit Sagittarius A* which interact with the magnetic fields surrounding them, and are in line with what scientists predicted would be seen around a black hole.

ESO released a video which shows a beautiful visualization of zooming into the black hole and seeing the swirling pattern of the flares that surround it:

This is the first time that material has been observed so close to the event horizon of a black hole. The event horizon is a region around a black hole from which nothing can escape — not matter or even light. Because black holes are so dense, they have very strong gravity which pulls anything within the event horizon back towards the black hole and prevents it from escaping. Just outside of the event horizon is a point called the innermost stable orbit, which is the closest that matter can come to the black hole without being dragged into it, and this is where the flares observed by the ESO originated. The innermost stable orbit is part of the accretion disk, which is the disk of gasses and other matter that forms around a black hole but which is far enough away not to be pulled inside the event horizon. The forces of friction and gravity combine to compress these gases and raise their temperature, which is how the flares form.

As a supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A* is even stronger than most black holes due to its enormous size. We now have confirmation that this cosmological giant is the center around which the entire Milky Way galaxy rotates.

Emerging Tech

Microsoft’s friendly new A.I wants to figure out what you want — before you ask

Move over Siri and Alexa! Microsoft wants to build a new type of virtual assistant that wants to be your friend. Already making waves in Asia, could this be the future of A.I. BFFs?
Emerging Tech

NASA selects the all-important landing site for its Mars 2020 rover mission

NASA said on Monday that the landing site for its much-anticipated Mars 2020 rover mission has the potential to "revolutionize how we think about Mars and its ability to harbor life."
Emerging Tech

Ghostly galaxy discovered lurking on the edge of the Milky Way

A team of astronomers from the University of Cambridge have discovered a strange galaxy next door to the Milky Way. The dwarf galaxy, named Antlia 2, is dark and dim and gives out much less light than expected.
Emerging Tech

Stronger than steel, thinner than paper, graphene could be the future of tech

Since its discovery, graphene has set the research world on fire. What exactly is it, though, and what could it mean for the future of tech? Here's everything you need to know about what could be the next supermaterial to take center stage.
Gaming

These are the best Xbox One games available right now

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From 'Cuphead' to 'Halo 5,' the best Xbox One games offer something for everyone.
Product Review

DJI has always been the king of drones, and the new Mavics are almost perfect

After flying both the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom for over a week, we’re convinced that these are two of the best drones that DJI has ever made.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Deals

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Emerging Tech

Smarter cities need smarter addresses. And you just need 3 words

To make really smart transportation choices, more precise location data will have to be integrated with citywide transportation data. Here’s how one company is mapping the world by using just three words.
Emerging Tech

Ancient crater the size of NYC discovered under the Greenland ice sheet

A huge crater has been discovered beneath the ice of Greenland, and is thought to be the result of a meteorite impact millions of years ago. The crater is one of the largest ever discovered, measuring 19 miles across.
Emerging Tech

Here’s how the InSight mission to Mars will confirm its landing to NASA

NASA's InSight mission has sent a lander to Mars. NASA researchers have now shared details on how they will monitor the touching down of the lander at the end of its 91 million mile journey.
Emerging Tech

Would you swap your keycard for a microchip implant? For many, the answer is yes

Put down your keycard! More people are turning to implanted RFID chips as their choice of workplace identification. Should we be worried about a world in which employees get microchipped?
Outdoors

‘Super magnesium’ may be the next wonder material for outdoor gear

Super Magnesium is a wonder material that is 30 percent lighter than aluminum, as strong as carbon fiber, cheaper to make, and 100-percent recyclable, making it much better for the environment.
Emerging Tech

Forget joysticks — the Guts Game is controlled by a sensor that you swallow

Researchers have created an unusual new game in which players swallow a biosensor and then compete to raise or lower the temperature in their gut. Sound crazy? Here's why it could catch on.