Scientists take record look at black hole

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (UPI) — U.S. astronomers say they’ve taken the closest look ever at the giant black hole in the center of our galaxy and at some of the highest resolution ever made.

By combining telescopes in Hawaii, Arizona and California, the scientists said they were able to detect structure at a tiny angular scale of 37 micro-arcseconds — the equivalent of a baseball seen on the surface of the moon, 240,000 miles distant.

“This technique gives us an unmatched view of the region near the Milky Way’s central black hole,” said Sheperd Doeleman, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology astronomer and first author of the study.

“No one has seen such a fine-grained view of the galactic center before,” said co-author Jonathan Weintroub of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “We’ve observed nearly to the scale of the black hole event horizon — the region inside of which nothing, including light, can ever escape.”

The research is reported in the journal Nature.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

from Arcamax Science and Technology e-zine, 09-11-2008