Sagittarius A*: NASA Telescopes Support Event Horizon Telescope in Studying Milky Way’s Black Hole


The main panel of this graphic contains X-ray data from Chandra (blue) depicting hot gas that was blown away from massive stars near the black hole. Two images of infrared light at different wavelengths from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope show stars (orange) and cool gas (purple). These images are seven light years across at the distance of Sgr A*. A pull-out shows the new EHT image, which is only about 1.8 x 10-5 light years across (0.000018 light years, or about 10 light minutes). (Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; IR: NASA/HST/STScI. Inset: Radio (EHT Collaboration))

Lee este anuncio de prensa en español aquí.

As the Event Horizon Telescope collected data for its remarkable new image of the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole, a legion of other telescopes including three NASA X-ray observatories in space was also watching.

Astronomers are using these observations to learn more about how the black hole in the center of the Milky Way galaxy — known as Sagittarius A * (Sgr A* for short) — interacts with, and feeds off, its environment some 27,000 light years from Earth.

When the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) observed Sgr A* in April 2017 to make the new image, scientists in the collaboration also peered at the same black hole with facilities that detect different wavelengths of light. In this multiwavelength observing campaign, they assembled X-ray data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), and the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory; radio data from the East Asian Very Long-Baseline Interferometer (VLBI) network and the Global 3-millimeter VLBI array; and infrared data from the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile.

“The Event Horizon Telescope has captured yet another remarkable image, this time of the giant black hole at the center of our own home galaxy,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Looking more comprehensively at this black hole will help us learn more about its cosmic effects on its environment, and exemplifies the international collaboration that will carry us into the future and reveal discoveries we could never have imagined.”

One important goal was to catch X-ray flares, which are thought to be driven by magnetic processes similar to those seen on the Sun, but can be tens of millions of times more powerful. These flares occur approximately daily within the area of sky observed by the EHT, a region slightly larger than the event horizon of Sgr A*, the point of no return for matter falling inward. Another goal was to gain a critical glimpse of what is happening on larger scales. While the EHT result shows striking similarities between Sgr A* and the previous black hole it imaged, M87*, the wider picture is much more complex.

“If the new EHT image shows us the eye of a black hole hurricane, then these multiwavelength observations reveal winds and rain the equivalent of hundreds or even thousands of miles beyond,” said Daryl Haggard of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, who is one of the lead scientists of the multiwavelength campaign. “How does this cosmic storm interact with and even disrupt its galactic environment?”

One of the biggest ongoing questions surrounding black holes is exactly how they collect, ingest, or even expel material orbiting them at near light speed, in a process known as “accretion.” This process is fundamental to the formation and growth of planets, stars, and black holes of all sizes, throughout the universe.

Chandra images of hot gas around Sgr A* are crucial for accretion studies because they tell us how much material is captured from nearby stars by the black hole’s gravity, as well as how much manages to make its way close to the event horizon. This critical information is not available with current telescopes for any other black hole in the universe, including M87*.

“Astronomers can largely agree on the basics — that black holes have material swirling around them and some of it falls across the event horizon forever,” said Sera Markoff of the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, another coordinator of the multiwavelength observations. “With all of the data that we’ve gathered for Sgr A* we can go a lot further than this basic picture.”

Scientists in the large international collaboration compared the data from NASA’s high-energy missions and the other telescopes to state-of-the-art computational models that take into account factors such as Einstein’s general theory of relativity, effects of magnetic fields, and predictions of how much radiation the material around the black hole should generate at different wavelengths.

The comparison of the models with the measurements gives hints that the magnetic field around the black hole is strong and that the angle between the line of sight to the black hole and its spin-axis is low — less than about 30 degrees. If confirmed this means that from our vantage point we are looking down on Sgr A* and its ring more than we are from side-on, surprisingly similar to EHT’s first target M87*.

“None of our models matches the data perfectly, but now we have more specific information to work from,” said Kazuhiro Hada from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. “The more data we have the more accurate our models, and ultimately our understanding of black hole accretion, will become.”

The researchers also managed to catch X-ray flares — or outbursts — from Sgr A* during the EHT observations: a faint one seen with Chandra and Swift, and a moderately bright one seen with Chandra and NuSTAR. X-ray flares with a similar brightness to the latter are regularly observed with Chandra, but this is the first time that the EHT simultaneously observed Sgr A*, offering an extraordinary opportunity to identify the responsible mechanism using actual images.

The millimeter-wave intensity and variability observed with EHT increases in the few hours immediately after the brighter X-ray flare, a phenomenon not seen in millimeter observations a few days earlier. Analysis and interpretation of the EHT data immediately following the flare will be reported in future publications.

The EHT team’s results are being published on May 12th in a special issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters. The multiwavelength results are mainly described in papers II and V.

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center manages the Chandra program. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory’s Chandra X-ray Center controls science operations from Cambridge, Massachusetts, and flight operations from Burlington, Massachusetts.

Goddard manages the Swift mission in collaboration with Penn State, the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, and Northrop Grumman Space Systems in Dulles, Virginia. Other partners include the University of Leicester and Mullard Space Science Laboratory in the United Kingdom, Brera Observatory in Italy, and the Italian Space Agency.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California manages NuSTAR for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Mission partners and contributors include the Danish Technical University (DTU), the Italian Space Agency (ASI), Columbia University, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Orbital Sciences Corp., the University of California, Berkeley, and NASA’s High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center.

Read more from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.

For more Chandra images, multimedia and related materials, visit:

Last Updated: May 12, 2022

Editor: Lee Mohon

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May 15, 2022 2:12 am

Before you all go gung ho about black holes have a think about the electric universe, to be found on the thunderbolts blog. The arguments are very persuasive and make more sense than dark matter and black holes – at least to an engineer.

Reply to  Sarah
May 15, 2022 3:45 am

“None of our models matches the data perfectly, but now we have more specific information to work from. The more data we have the more accurate our models, and ultimately our understanding of black hole accretion, will become.”
Astronomy scientists are learning from the climate scientists.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Vuk
May 15, 2022 6:39 am

Except that astronomy scientists are not raking in millions of dollars with scare tactics. Certainly more credible.

Willem post
Reply to  Tom in Florida
May 16, 2022 4:07 am

Before studying outer space black holes, we should put a lock on the huge black hole in Washington, where they print all that free money to plug $multi-trillion deficits

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Vuk
May 15, 2022 7:13 am


Please note that in your quoted sentences, there is specific reference to the intent of using data to increase understanding.

The same cannot be said of climate scientists that front the AGW/CAGW meme, in particular those supporting the IPCC.

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 15, 2022 8:45 am

… to Tom and Gordon,
Not that I think that global warming is any danger to either humans or the planet, but I’m even less convinced of existence of a physical reality that s.c. black holes were to represent.
Fact that one solution to one of Einstein’s differential equations sent astronomers for over a century chasing possibility and then constructing hypothesis of black holes does not necessarily mean that they are correct.
Btw, who am I to question something that millions of science graduates happens to believe in.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Vuk
May 15, 2022 9:12 am

“Btw, who am I to question something that millions of science graduates happens to believe in.”

I can offer you no better advice than this:
“Test all things; hold fast what is good.”
—Bible (1 Thessalonians 5:21, NKJV)

Reply to  Vuk
May 16, 2022 9:07 am

Have learned…

Reply to  Sarah
May 15, 2022 4:10 am

Does the “electric universe” explain why this galaxy is not winding up tighter and tighter as it should according to Newtonian physics without the presence of dark matter or some other balancing force or matter?

Reply to  rah
May 15, 2022 4:17 am

Yes: Though I am not a big fan of the Lightning Bolts rendition of the theory, working EM fields into Astrophysics does help to clear up some mysteries.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  JCR
May 15, 2022 8:07 am

Re: “working EM fields into Astrophysics”

. . . has been on-going since the contributions of Fermi (1949), Cowling (1953), Hoyle (1958), and Alfvén (1963).
(ref: On the Origin of Cosmic Magnetic Fields, download available at )

Gary Pearse
Reply to  rah
May 15, 2022 12:20 pm

Maybe we have to add the pull of the black hole(s) to that of Newtonian gravity? Also since the “three body problem” presented such an intractable thing to deal with, perhaps the “200 billion body problem” is even more perplexing.

Moreover, we have been unable to resolve the the unification of the weak and strong forces acting within and around a molecule even with the logic of the idea that there is one force manifesting itself in these separate ways. Is gravity a surplus force left over after satisfaction of the other duties of holding nuclei and masses of molecules together?

Reply to  Gary Pearse
May 15, 2022 3:40 pm

Electromagnetism, may, indeed, be that ‘force’ that manifests itself in different ways.

Reply to  rah
May 15, 2022 3:36 pm

Plasma physics; electromagnetism & its interaction with matter (ions & electrons) doesn’t rely on so-called “dark matter”.

If you consider gravity alone without any other force… you need “dark matter.

“Dark matter” is needed because simply by Newton’s calculations, the arms of galaxies the farther out from the center of that galaxy should be going slower… but observation & measurement show they all go at the same speed.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Sarah
May 15, 2022 8:42 am

If you read a couple of years of Lubos Motl’s blog, you may come to the same conclusion I did-
unless you’re the upper crust of the upper crust of world class physicists, you may not understand
the leading physics theories as well as you think you do. Big Bang theory does have a lot of
“exceptions” to the basic laws which will eventually need to be reconciled which will take a lot of
brain power to do it.

Note: I just tried to access “The Reference Frame” & got a Google “Sign in to Blogger” page.
What’s up with that? NO THANKS!

Reply to  Sarah
May 16, 2022 9:10 am

Or dark energy. — that’s it, the answer…dark energy creates global warming! Where’s my Nobel Prize? CO2 is actually dark energy. Or maybe the other way around, needs more study.

May 15, 2022 2:38 am

So the Big Bang must have been a giant Black Hole exploding.

Reply to  Robertvd
May 15, 2022 4:39 am

“giant Black Hole”

Super-Giant Black Hole (Discovered)
Supermassive black hole (Wikipedia)
From Super to Ultra: Just How Big Can Black Holes Get …

We’re running out of superlatives.

Reply to  fretslider
May 15, 2022 10:15 am

Just check out what the democrats come up with after UltraMAGA to find out what superlative they will use next.
Astrophysicists will follow the progs lead to appease the elites and continue funding.

Mike McMillan
Reply to  fretslider
May 15, 2022 5:10 pm

That EHT inset photo says the image is 10 light-seconds across. That means it would fit inside the orbit of Venus.

Reply to  Robertvd
May 15, 2022 5:01 am

Maybe. link

Reply to  Robertvd
May 16, 2022 9:13 am

In the beginning, there was nothing. Then it exploded.

May 15, 2022 3:16 am

My main issue with this (and the m87* observations) is that what we see is almost entirely the product of computer models, that extrapolate the very small amounts of observational data based on assumptions about what should be there. And wouldn’t you know it, the model spits out exactly what it was programmed to produce.

Somehow, against all the odds, we’re staring down the axis of sag a*, even though common sense and other data indicates its spin and magnetic field should be aligned with the radio lobes emanating from the galactic core and not with this arbitrary part of the outer galactic disc.

What are the odds that we just happened to be looking down its axis, and down m87*’s axis, when viewing one from high above it’s host galaxy’s plane, and another from almost directly side on?

You could probably feed their model red noise and get the same result.

It’s a hockey puck.

Tom Johnson
Reply to  archer
May 15, 2022 3:46 am

I had the same thoughts as I read the article: “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”. It’s maybe time to re-think the model (in spite of the anti-science heresy that would generate).

Reply to  Tom Johnson
May 15, 2022 4:57 am

‘Post-modern’ scientific models are akin to scripture – a body of writing considered sacred and/or authoritative.

Reply to  archer
May 15, 2022 4:19 am

Looking at a plasma ‘bubble’ the edges will look like a ring because as a viewer you are ‘looking through’ more material. So no matter what point in the universe you look from you will always see a ring.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Robertvd
May 15, 2022 8:19 am

Just so, as long as the bubble is semi-transparent. Excellent response!

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  archer
May 15, 2022 8:16 am

What we are “seeing” regarding our galaxy’s central supermassive black hole, per the above article, is a composite of direct telescopic observations (i.e., real data), NOT the “product of computer models” as you assert.

As regards your mentioning of “common sense”, common sense does not allow for the existence of black holes just as it does not explain dark matter and dark energy, which together amount to 95% of the universe.

Now, you were saying something about hockey puck . . .

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 15, 2022 8:38 am

Very small amounts of observational data, which as I said, have been processed through a computer model that is loaded with assumptions about what should be there.

Common sense rests on prior understanding. Given the theorised existence of black holes, given prior observations of the behaviour of matter surrounding sagA*, given the existence of radio lobes above and below the galactic plane that are presumed to emanate from the rotational or magnetic axis of the hole, it would be common sense to assume that the hole should be at least roughly aligned with the rotational axis of the galaxy. Instead, against all probability, its rotational and magnetic axes are stated to be pointing at *us*. The coincidence is too much.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  archer
May 15, 2022 9:03 am

“The coincidence is too much.”

Yeah, sorta like the astronomical coincidence that life would develop on Earth.

It defies common sense. 😉

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 15, 2022 9:16 am

Now you’re just being disingenuous.

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 15, 2022 10:35 am

Maybe God does play dice with the universe?😉

Hat tip to Einstein.

Mike Lewis
Reply to  archer
May 17, 2022 5:42 am

Very small amounts? Uh, no, it was made from petabytes of data, actual radio telescope recordings.

A Picture of the Milky Way’s Supermassive Black Hole – YouTube

Thomas Edwardson
Reply to  Mike Lewis
May 22, 2022 8:48 pm

That very polished video involves a lot of simplification and hand-waving like many of the videos that pass as “science” on these here interwebs.
All of those many petabytes of data that were captured, combined, and analyzed were cooked down to a set of probabilities for what a tiny fraction of the pixels in the final image ought to be. My mark I eyeball says the coverage tracks of the measured pixels of the image field is about 5%. The rest of the data in the image has been in-filled from black hole model data. Sounds just like the climate change temperature data to me – mostly infilled data.
But don’t take my word for it. You can actually read the Event Horizon Telescope paper here …

Figure 3 shows the sampling tracks.
If you take the sampling tracks, generously blow it up, and overlay it on the final image, you can get an idea of just how much of that image is simply made up.

Thomas Edwardson
Reply to  Thomas Edwardson
May 22, 2022 8:49 pm

Like so …

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 15, 2022 10:32 am

Real data is the key to understanding.

Since dark matter and dark energy have not been observed, it is not prudent, in my opinion, to state that they exist let alone amount to 95% of the universe. I consider them hypothetical explanations to observations that don’t fit into our current understanding.

Reply to  Brad-DXT
May 15, 2022 10:55 am

Dark matter and dark energy are ad-hoc inventions to explain why observations stubbornly refuse to conform to cosmological models.

Reply to  Archer
May 15, 2022 11:03 am

Didn’t I just say that?

BTW, I consider them fine placeholders until better theories are proposed.

Reply to  Brad-DXT
May 15, 2022 11:58 am

Sorry. Guess there must be an echo. 😀

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Brad-DXT
May 15, 2022 11:55 am

“Since dark matter and dark energy have not been observed . . .”

Technically true, but in a real sense not true.

Both “dark matter” and “dark energy”, as they are named for convenience in discussions/debates, have exhibited gravitational effects on visible matter at galaxy scale and on the overall observed expansion rate of the universe.

Because we don’t understand exactly what “makes up” either, it is fair to say they are “unknown entities” but it is a stretch to call them “hypothetical”, IMHO.

Gentlemen can peacefully disagree on such nuances.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Brad-DXT
May 15, 2022 11:59 am

Kin to phlogiston and ether perhaps. I’m not saying dark matter and energy do not exist, mind you. I’m just saying “smart” people were convinced of phlogiston and the celestial ether and now “smart” people are convinced of a couple of new abstract concepts that haven’t been directly observed. Skeptics like me are gonna be skeptical.

Reply to  Brad-DXT
May 16, 2022 7:36 am

But they do fit into our current understanding, such as it is. That’s why they haven’t been discounted yet.

Reply to  beng135
May 16, 2022 9:21 am

We know our understanding is flawed, such as it is. That’s why the dark matter and dark energy terms were created.
They are nothing more than placeholder names for something not observed. If you consider that discounted, then so be it.

I don’t think that whatever it is that’s causing the observed gravitational difference from current theory is going to be called dark matter or energy. Maybe they’ll name it after the discoverer.
Get to work and find it.

Rich Davis
Reply to  archer
May 15, 2022 11:48 am

I am of a similar mind. Common sense dictates that any accretion disk swirling around the central black hole should be in the galactic plane like the rest of the matter in the galaxy. What sense does it make that our backwater star partway out one of the arms of the galaxy would be nearly on the axis of the black hole/accretion disk rotation despite that being virtually 90 degrees off from the axis of rotation of the galaxy as a whole, and also at nearly the perfect theta angle around the galaxy to be pointed right at us? And another distant galaxy also has the same relationship to earth? It’s beyond disbelief for me.

The image we should logically expect to see from our vantage point should be just a cloud of glowing gas obscuring the event horizon completely. That’s not interesting and who’s going to cough up grant money for that? We want an image of a black hole. There needs to be, y’know a BLACK, like, HOLE in the middle. And by god, that’s what we’re gonna have.

I have as much confidence that this accurately represents a physical reality as I would if you told me it is a picture of a halo on an angel.

Reply to  Rich Davis
May 15, 2022 8:29 pm

I read this article on The article pointed out that one cannot see the black hole and that the modeled image (from real data) showed only the shadow of the black hole. While I understand the basic concept of a black hole and that light or other forms of electromagnetic energy would of necessity not emanate from it, why should a shadow exist? Are we talking about the shadow of the event horizon itself? Are we talking about the lobes of radio energy nearby but not yet incorporated into the black hole…would that be enough to cause the shadow effect?

Rich Davis
Reply to  Walter Keane
May 16, 2022 12:53 pm

I’m not sure about that, but what we can say for sure is that an infinite number of angels can dance on the event horizon, like a virtual pin.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Rich Davis
May 18, 2022 8:17 am

Anyone using the word “infinite”, quite simply, does not understand what he/she is thinking about.

Think about it.

Peta of Newark
May 15, 2022 3:49 am

One = one year older and (another) one = one year younger, than me.
RandomFactoid: On this very day in 1958, Sputnik 3 was launched and exactly 2 years later, Sputnik 4 went up

Sputniks are great but they should really have stopped launching any more then, you. can. have. too much of a good thing.
A lot like squirrels in fact.

OMG I’ve jus’ remembered, its my lil’ sis’ birthday today

May 15, 2022 5:04 am

I’m sure the Webb telescope will be pointed in this direction in the not too distant future. Let’s see what it will provide. In fact, I’m guessing it will turn up a lot of sightings that will make us rethink what’s out there.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  rbabcock
May 15, 2022 5:57 am

I’m looking forward to what the Webb telescope is going to show us.

We need to expand the networked telescopes to orbits in outer space and create ourselves a really big telescope.

Randle Dewees
Reply to  rbabcock
May 16, 2022 8:10 am

The angular resolution of the JWST is a few orders of magnitude too coarse to show any details of the object. The Event Horizon Telescope has a resolution of 25 micro-seconds.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Randle Dewees
May 18, 2022 9:11 am

The longer the distance between two telescopes, the better the resolution when they are used together as a interferometric array

The imaging instrument on Hubble covers a relatively small portion of the infrared spectrum, from 0.8 to 2.5 microns.

The imaging instruments on JWST cover the EM spectrum from 0.6 to 28 micrometers wavelength:
— NIRCam (Near InfraRed Camera) from the edge of the visible (0.6 μm) to the near infrared (5 μm),
— MIRI (Mid-InfraRed Instrument) mid-to-long-infrared wavelength range from 5 to 28 μm.

Since Hubble and JWST’s NIRCam overlap with imaging in range of 0.8 to 2.5 microns, and since both have large apertures for light gathering (detection of very faint objects), and since both are separated by an average distance of about 1 million miles they offer the possibility of being used together as an interferometric array to provide much better angular resolution than the Event Horizon Telescope, which is located on Earth with a maximum interferometric base-line separation distance of “only” about 7,900 miles.

Paul Stevens
May 15, 2022 5:21 am

I’m confused. Where in their speculations do they say “It’s worse than we thought?”

Reply to  Paul Stevens
May 15, 2022 6:46 am

They haven’t figured out how to blame CO2 for it, yet.

Frank from NoVA
May 15, 2022 6:40 am

I think it’s good to know about black holes and such, but I’m also aware that at the end of the day the ‘State’ always works to maximize its extraction of resources from the private sector. In this light, I wonder if the real goal of these programs is to keep a lot of physicists (and others) on side with, or at least silent about, the junk science of climate alarmism.

tom hewitt
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
May 15, 2022 7:29 am

Not to be a killjoy but is there some useful knowledge to be gained from the millions being spent on long distance astronomical investigations? It might be preferable to spend some research funds, for instance, on the development of highways that last more than 15 years without massive reconstruction or coatings that effectively defy rusting of ferrous products.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  tom hewitt
May 15, 2022 8:08 am

I would agree, there probably isn’t much of a groundswell to fund this type of research. But then there probably isn’t a groundswell to spend $50B to fight a proxy war where our primary tactic appears to be implementing an oil embargo on ourselves. The point is all of these activities get funded because the State perceives a benefit from doing so.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
May 15, 2022 8:58 am

“The point is all of these activities get funded because the State perceives a benefit from doing so.”

More appropriately, because history has repeatedly shown that work in theoretical physics (all categories) and experiment research (all fields) often leads to breakthroughs that translate to new technologies of enormous benefit to all humans . . . developments of new drugs, semiconductors, cell phones, GPS, lasers, the Internet and WWW, radar, fiber optics, and commercial nuclear fission power plants to mention just a few over the last century.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 15, 2022 10:14 am

What you say is true. The issue I have is with the ‘progressive’ assumption that none of this research would have occurred without government, or worse yet, if something is worth funding the government should do it.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
May 15, 2022 10:34 am

Oh, I believe the research, both theoretical and applied, would have eventually happened with private investments . . . the carrot at the end of the stick has such a high payoff that this would be unavoidable.

However, the deep pockets of national governments, particularly those of Uncle Sam, likely expedite such breakthroughs by a factor of ten or more time wise.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 15, 2022 11:05 am

‘However, the deep pockets of national governments, particularly those of Uncle Sam, likely expedite such breakthroughs by a factor of ten or more time wise.’

I can’t agree with you on this. For one thing, there’s the tendency for government funding to crowd out private funding. This leads to the issue of systematic error which we see all the time in government funded climate science.

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 15, 2022 11:45 am

How about spaceX?

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  JimG1
May 15, 2022 3:31 pm

I admit they did demonstrate the technology to put a red Roadster into orbit around the Sun . . . something never considered prior to them pulling off the feat.

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 15, 2022 12:41 pm

Besides that if it were funded strictly from private sources the company or consortium that developed the technology would have sole control over it.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  rah
May 15, 2022 3:19 pm

You mean like Bell Labs and the development of the transistor?

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 15, 2022 10:42 am

Don’t forget battery developments. Astronauts were among the first to use battery powered tools.

I am eternally grateful to the scientists and engineers that have made life easier for us. Battery powered tools have no doubt save many human joints, including mine.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Brad-DXT
May 15, 2022 12:40 pm

“Astronauts were among the first to use battery powered tools.”

That’s certainly debatable:

In 1961 Black & Decker designed and manufactured the first cordless power tool. This drill was powered by a rechargeable nickel cadmium (NiCad) battery. 2 years later Martin Marietta Corporation contracted Black & Decker to design tools for NASA’s space exploration program.
(my underlining emphasis added)

The first human, Yuri Gagarin, flew into space in 1961, but he did not use any battery operated power tools on his flight.

Black & Decker developed a zero-impact wrench for the Gemini project that spun bolts in zero gravity without spinning the astronaut.

The first manned Gemini mission flew in 1965, but the first EVA opportunity to test out that battery-powered impact wrench would almost certainly have been Gemini XII pilot Buzz Aldrin’s EVA in 1966. This would be five years after Black & Decker began selling the first battery-powered tool, a drill.

Reply to  Frank from NoVA
May 15, 2022 4:50 pm

Isn’t the US government one of the biggest Black Holes in the universe ? And this government could have a problem with calling the Hole Black.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Robertvd
May 15, 2022 7:50 pm

Right on! . . . black hole lives matter.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
May 15, 2022 8:23 am

I’m just counting the days until someone asserts that the supermassive black hole that is the subject of the above article is blamed on climate change™.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 15, 2022 8:45 am

Might be a bridge too far for the Alarmist crowd, given that they’ve already thrown up on cosmic rays having any influence on our climate. But hey, never say never to the Alarmists getting on board if reversing the direction of causality supports the narrative.

Old Man Winter
May 15, 2022 7:05 am

My college’s Technolog™ magazine had the photo I attached of a recent discovery found at the
center of the earth. I wonder if they’ll find one like it beyond the event horizon of a black hole, too!

Mike McMillan
Reply to  Old Man Winter
May 15, 2022 4:54 pm

Boeing had that idea a long time ago.
comment image

Gordon A. Dressler
May 15, 2022 7:08 am

Kudos to all the teams that worked to bring us this image of our galaxy’s central supermassive black hole.

I am 99+% sure that Sagittarius A * is one of the objects that the James Webb Space Telescope is now imagining as part of that new space telescope’s checkout and calibrations.

The JWST Program Office has thus far only publicly released one photo taken during the checkout and precision mirror alignment process (see,yellow%20mirrors%20synced%20into%20collaboration. )
but that image is exceptional and offer promise of what is yet to come. Please note that future image processing will allow removal of the diffraction spikes (artifact) seen around in the central star in this photo, but note the clarity of background galaxies that are seen!

JWST is scheduled to begin releasing “official” astrophotographs this summer, with the goal of imaging the earliest galaxies that formed after the Big Bang, as well as other objects of highest scientific interest.

JWST will offer us a MUCH better view of Sgr A* in infrared . . . and I’m looking forward to what that will show.

May 15, 2022 3:08 pm

The thing to remember here is simple; They’re probably full of shit because they’re making the assumption that there MUST be a super massive black hole there without investigating the plasma physics and outward gravity that occur at the middle of galaxies. There is an IMMENSE amount of energy and an IMMENSE tidal force generated at the center of a galaxy because, literally, all the gravity in the universe is pulling outwards from that point. We’re talking about a granular scale change in time space quite literally approaching an infinite change… and these idiots who are filtering what the equipment sees specifically to make it look like a ring clearly haven’t done their homework.

A galaxy will tolerate nothing to be stable in its exact gravitational center.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Prjindigo
May 15, 2022 3:27 pm

“plasma physics and outward gravity that occur at the middle of galaxies”

Ummmm . . . need further clarification on exactly how that works, given that actually galaxies are not perfectly symmetrical in terms of spherical mass or plasma distributions.

Reply to  Prjindigo
May 16, 2022 8:56 pm

Oh good grief, you are spouting absurdities. Yes, there is a lot of energy and–if you get too close–a strong tidal force. (Remember that tidal forces fall off as the cube of the distance from the source, not the square.)

But no, it is not the case that “all the gravity in the universe is pulling outwards from that point”: gravity pulls toward the source (or sources, as in mutual attraction of two masses), not away from the source, and how strongly it pulls depends on the amount of mass (and distance squared). It is true that there is mass in the galaxy outside of this black hole, and those masses–mostly stars–are pulling things toward them at the same time the black hole pulls inward. In just the same way, the Earth and the Moon (and the Sun) pull on each other.

And far from all the gravity in the universe, this is just one of many large black holes in the universe. And even at our distance from this black hole, we could not tell from gravity alone whether there was a black hole there–it’s only because we can observe stars orbiting near this black hole, and infer from their orbital periods what the mass of the object they’re orbiting is.

And yes, they’ve done their homework; the ring you see is not the black hole, it is mass that’s orbiting the black hole at relatively close distances, and orbiting so fast–and therefore energetic–that it’s glowing. Those people you claim to be idiots clearly know one heck of a lot more than you do, and are not “filtering” their equipment to pretend it looks like a ring.

Finally, I have no idea what you mean when you talk about galaxies not “tolerating” stability in the center of a galaxy, and I suspect you don’t either. First, who said anything about stable? And second, this black hole is orders of magnitude more massive than anything in its vicinity, so it can–as it were–make its own rules about stability. And its neighborhood is anything but stable. That ring of glowing mass, for instance, is probably made mostly of stars that have been tidally ripped apart. And much (perhaps most) of the gas in the ring will eventually fall into the hole, precisely because the orbits are not stable (due to friction and magnetic fields). So no, the center is not stable, but this has been known for a long time; you did not discover it just now.

In sum, someone is full of s__t: you.

May 15, 2022 4:01 pm

Sagittarius A is more consistent with a plasmoid, a plasma-magnetic entity.

plasmoid is a coherent structure of plasma and magnetic fields.

The word plasmoid was coined in 1956 by Winston H. Bostick (1916-1991) to mean a “plasma-magnetic entity”.

Yes, stronger telescopes provide more and better observation & measurement.

(See farther, clearer, but also more sensitive to magnetic fields and the various bands on the electromagnetic wave spectrum.)

And by those telescopes we observe filaments and flowing plasma, surrounded by magnetic fields (magnetic fields & electric fields are inverse per Maxwell’s Equations) consistent with an active electromagnetic system within a larger environment.

Reply to  James F. Evans
May 15, 2022 7:37 pm

An example of a plasma torus is a spheromak:

spheromak is an arrangement of plasma formed into a toroidal shape similar to a smoke ring.[1] The spheromak contains large internal electric currents and their associated magnetic fields arranged so the magnetohydrodynamic forces within the spheromak are nearly balanced, resulting in long-lived (microsecond) confinement times without external fields. Spheromaks belong to a type of plasma configuration referred to as the compact toroids.

Allen Stoner
May 15, 2022 4:02 pm

Outside of a couple hundred light years I have very little faith in Astrophysics. Hell, some of the stuff they do between Earth and the Moon seem pretty seemly. And, yes, astrophysics does get billions of dollars a year to sustain itself even though it offers very little real world value. It might not be destructive to the real world like the global warming scam, but it certainly feels scammy to me.

Dark matter to hold things together more than they should hold together. Then dark energy to push things apart faster than they should push apart. The ability to see things that are going faster than the speed of light away from you. In fact, the argument that you would still be able to see an object moving opposite your direction going the speed of light while you are going the speed of light in the other direction. The big bang, everything from nothing. The big bang being followed by massive inflation that expanded the universe quickly to make up for the lack of ability of the big bang to explain it. Then mysteriously the massive inflation just so happened to stop quick enough to allow the creation of stars and galaxies.

They might as well just simply declare they have no idea and that God must have created it all. Or it happened and is still happening by magic.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Allen Stoner
May 15, 2022 8:34 pm

You posted: “And, yes, astrophysics does get billions of dollars a year to sustain itself even though it offers very little real world value.”

1. The search for the physical understanding of what powers the Sun led directly to fact that the Sun demonstrates thermonuclear fusion power is possible and occurs in all stars. This fact was used, in large part, to advance the development of thermonuclear (“fusion”) bombs, which in turn lead to the concept of mutually-assured-destruction that has actually stabilized the world against having another massive, “un-winnable” world war.

2. The observation that the Sun produces far less neutrinos than originally theoretically postulated based on developed and commonly-accepted chains of stellar fusion reactions and the “Standard Model” of physics of the day—“the solar neutrino problem”led directly to a new understanding that neutrinos are not massless particles and that there are three flavors of neutrinos: electron neutrinos, muon neutrinos, and tau neutrinos.
In 2002, Ray Davis and Masatoshi Koshiba won part of the Nobel Prize in Physics for experimental work which found the number of solar neutrinos to be around a third of the number predicted by the standard solar model.
“In recognition of the firm evidence provided by the 1998 and 2001 experiments “for neutrino oscillation”, Takaaki Kajita from the Super-Kamiokande Observatory and Arthur McDonald from the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) were awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize for Physics.”
Understanding neutrinos, classified as an type of lepton, is a key part of developing a grand unification theory of the universe (aka the TOE , the Theory of Everything).

“. . .very little real world value” . . . yeah, right.

Matthew Schilling
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 16, 2022 5:20 am

But what if you are just citing anecdotal evidence that our modern Ptolemaic Model is getting more and more granular, with smaller and smaller wheels within wheels? What if the modern paradigm is getting more and more precise while still being wildly inaccurate?

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Matthew Schilling
May 16, 2022 7:32 am

“. . . our modern Ptolemaic Model . . .”

But what if you understood that there is no such thing as a modern Ptolemaic Model?

Ptolemy placed the Earth at the center of the universe in his geocentric model. Ptolemy modeled the universe as a set of nested spheres surrounding the Earth, each planet moving by a system of two spheres: one called its deferent; the other, its epicycle. He believed that the Moon was orbiting on a sphere closest to the Earth, followed by Mercury, then Venus, then the Sun, then the sphere of containing all the visible stars. Of course, the Ptolemaic Model lacked the observational data that would later confirm the existence of outer planets within the Solar System as well as the presence of galaxies in the universe.

Science discarded Ptolemy’s theory starting around 1540 AD in favor of the heliocentric model of Copernicus, in large part due to Galileo’s telescopic observations of planets and Kepler’s development of the three laws of planetary motion (aka orbital mechanics), both occurring in the early 1600’s.


Matthew Schilling
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 16, 2022 9:47 am

Thanks, Captain Obvious, but I was using the Ptolemaic Model as a metaphor.

There is a real likelihood modern science has gone off the rails. If it has, it will be in no small part because the current prevalent paradigms are deeply flawed. Small armies of technicians are chasing their tails as they work feverishly to get more and more precise about the details of what very well may prove to be unphysical models and ideas.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Matthew Schilling
May 16, 2022 4:21 pm

” . . . but I was using the Ptolemaic Model as a metaphor.”

Since you actually used the phrase “modern Ptolemaic Model”, that was not at all, ahem, obvious.

“There is a real likelihood modern science has gone off the rails.”

Please get back to me when you have some objective facts to support that asserted “likelihood”.

Everything you state following “If it has” is just musings.

Matthew Schilling
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 16, 2022 8:10 pm

Okay, so you are color blind to metaphors (metaphor alert), but truly colorblind people don’t toss snark at people who see something they can’t.

As for musings, it is sad to ponder how you don’t understand musing is an essential part of science, and an essential tool for course correction within science. After all, before Einstein mused about a metaphor to explain and describe equivalency, Newton mused about falling apples and infinitesimal rates of change and tangents.

As for anecdotal evidence about the state of modern science, 90% of the content on this site is about a hugely consequential corner of modern science that is a croc of proverbial (metaphor alert).

As has been discussed in this thread, two spawns of modern science, dark energy and dark matter, could very well be arbitrary hacks. The dominant form of matter in the universe has never been directly observed? Mkay. And I’m not the one who labeled the theoretical prediction of dark energy “the worst prediction in history”.

Modern science is overripe. Century-old insights have been run into the ground. Science is in dire need of fresh insights. It is desperate for the enlightened musing of the next true genius. Throngs of directionless technicians have now thrashed about for at least half a century. Their self-referential circular reasonings in an echo chamber have been underwhelming.

Reply to  Matthew Schilling
May 16, 2022 9:00 pm

Century-old insights have been run into the ground.” Care to give an example? A century ago, science was starting to understand the source of energy in the Sun (nuclear energy). We understand it much better now–in fact, only too well, in that we can reproduce that reaction.

Matthew Schilling
Reply to  mcswell
May 17, 2022 7:53 am

Dark matter is over a century old. It’s the dominant matter of the universe, doncha know! Of course, it’s never actually been seen…

Einstein was scoffing at quantum mechanics and its spooky action at a distance over a century ago. The idea of an electron being everywhere at the same time is as stupid today as it was then. The Heisenberg Principle: People that didn’t know figuring no one could know, you know?

But the worst “scientific” old hag of them all is abiogenesis/macroevolution. In fact, it’s a sick joke, with the sap who believes it being the punchline. We can at least excuse Darwin and his age for thinking there was such a thing as “simple life”. Gazing at twitching little sticks and quivering little blobs through a crude microscope could tempt one to think life began as a chemical accident. Maybe random chance then took over from there…

But we now know there is no such thing as “simple” life. The “simplest” life forms are more complex than a metropolis. Life as we know it could not have arisen from non-life, therefore life did not arise from non-life. Further, once it did arise, the Little Engine That Could that relentlessly drove life on and up for no particular reason whatsoever was certainly NOT dumb, stupid, blind, meaningless, and oh! so! slow! random chance.

Information Theory and its Grim Reaper, entropy, put the lie to massive amounts of precise, sophisticated, highly interdependent data accumulating and advancing randomly and mindlessly for eons. Whatever. People want macroevolution to be true. People NEED it to be true! It’s not a theory, it’s an escape.

Macroevolution is 19th century claptrap pseudoscience that carries on because it is a convenient conceit for people who refuse to acknowledge the Creator.

We live in a superstitious, obtuse, anti-scientific age. No wonder the “party of science” doesn’t know how many genders there are, thinks men can get pregnant, and denies natural immunity! Oh and they’re convinced the elixir of life, atmospheric CO2, is pollution.

We’ve fallen into a Hunter S. Thompson novel. I’m not sure how we ever climb back out.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Matthew Schilling
May 18, 2022 9:25 am

Ahhh . . . finally revealed: a (Creationism) nerve has been hit!

Explains ALL of your preceding comments, as well at this most-recent, insightful (hah!) one:
“As for anecdotal evidence about the state of modern science, 90% of the content on this site is about a hugely consequential corner of modern science that is a croc of proverbial (metaphor alert).”

Thank you.

BTW, I do believe the word you meant to use was “crock”; “croc” is a contraction of “crocodile”.

Matthew Schilling
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 18, 2022 10:59 am

Thanks for your insightful attempt at a rebuttal to the patently obvious fact of a Creator. Oh wait, you didn’t provide one… because there isn’t one.

BTW, in a prior reply you wrote, “…the development of thermonuclear (“fusion”) bombs, which in turn lead to the concept of mutually-assured-destruction…” I do believe the word you meant to use was “led”; the homophone “lead” that you used is an element.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Matthew Schilling
May 18, 2022 2:43 pm

“. . . the homophone “lead” that you used is an element.”

Well, first off you need to understand the difference between a verb and a noun in a properly constructed English sentence . . . the element “lead” being a noun. The ability to discern context would also be of great help in clearing up your confusion.

Second, as any quick Web search will reveal:

lead verb (1)
Definition of lead (Entry 1 of 5)
\ ˈlēd \
transitive verb
1a: to guide on a way especially by going in advance
b: to direct on a course or in a direction
. . .
4: to bring to some conclusion or condition

lead noun (2), often attributive
\ ˈled \
Definition of lead (Entry 4 of 5)
1: a soft, heavy, metallic element with atomic number 82 found mostly in combination and used especially in alloys, batteries, and shields against sound, vibration, or radiation
. . .”

— source of above definitions:

Note that, as indicated above, the pronunciation of the verb “lead” is distinctly different than the pronunciation of the noun “lead”, so in fact the two words are not homophones but heteronyms.

There is a known course of action to be taken when one finds he is digging himself deeper and deeper into a hole . . .

Matthew Schilling
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 18, 2022 6:19 pm

You poor thing, you literally copied and pasted a citation proving my point. This is so pathetic I need to change my tone toward you. I don’t want to bully you, since you seem impaired in some way.

Please look at what you pasted above. The pronunciation “lēd” that you pasted is pronounced like the word reed. That is what the accent line above the letter ‘e’ signifies.

But, since you missed that basic point, you also missed the obvious fact that Section 1 of 5 contains two distinct words: 1. “lead”, the present tense form that rhymes with reed, and 2. “led”, the past tense form that rhymes with red.

In Section 1 of 5 that you referenced, every instance spelled “lead” or “leading” is pronounced like reed and is in the present tense.

They do list two examples in the past tense – matching the tense of your erroneous example posted at 8:34 on May 15.

1a) “led the officers to his hiding place”
4) “led to believe otherwise”

So, your last sentence above, about a course of action, is terribly ironic. Please just stop. You’re embarrassing yourself.

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 19, 2022 2:42 am

“leads to” would have worked instead, yes?

Reply to  Allen Stoner
May 16, 2022 9:20 am

Good summary.

May 15, 2022 4:42 pm

Looking at the image (also on the front page of the local paper):

I see a donut with three bright spots.

A donut, but also can be described as a torus:

In geometry, a torus is a surface of revolution generated by revolving a circle in three-dimensional space about an axis that is coplanar with the circle.

Torus structures of plasma have been observed & measured during plasma experiments in the laboratory.

Reply to  James F. Evans
May 16, 2022 9:02 pm

Sure, but the mode of formation of toruses in lab experiments (magnetic confinement) has little or nothing to do with the formation of toruses in the center of the galaxy (gravity and angular momentum).

Reply to  mcswell
May 17, 2022 2:35 pm

How do you know?

What we do know is that Electromagnetism is scalable to 17 orders of magnitude.

What happens in the laboratory is a good indication of what happens in nature.

And the alternatives (that many astronomers adhere to) are word salad and suppositions… mind experiments…

No experiments at all.

Reply to  James F. Evans
May 17, 2022 2:46 pm

Flowing plasma (ions & electrons) creates the magnetic fields that act as “magnetic-confinement”.

Reply to  James F. Evans
May 20, 2022 3:37 pm

To the extent that you can reproduce in the lab what happens somewhere else in the universe, yes, the lab may be an indication of what happens elsewhere. Fortunately, we cannot reproduce high gravity environments in the lab, but we know they exist elsewhere. (Why fortunate? Read Larry Niven’s “The Hole Man.”)

May 16, 2022 12:51 am

The “images” published by EHT are not photographs, but computer reconstructions starting from a very tiny amount of data. Look at figure 12 of the paper published in The Astrophysical journal Letters 875 Apr. 10 2019 (link below), we see very well that only a very small portion of the sky is actually tracked by the EHT various telescopes. So row data are of punctual nature and must be heavily manipulated and interpolated in order to reconstruct the image. The EHT teams does not hide that reconstruction is helped by cross checking with simulations of how a BH should look like (according to accepted models) so that eventually an image is selected that fits to the expectations. It is very easy to understand the meaning of that: we see what we want to see. for that reason this images do not prove anything. They are vitiated by a typical circular reasoning that renders every effort useless. But, even accepting the official EHT image, this one itself can appear very different by just changing the contrast. So the EHT M87 picture showing a black center surrounded by a ring of matter becomes a disc without any empty region, if contrast is increased. Such disc in addition it also has three outer protuberances on its perimeter. Of course it does not fit to what astronomers expect to see when close watching a BH.

Reply to  Luigi
May 16, 2022 9:02 pm

I suppose you have a better analysis of the raw data?

May 16, 2022 2:04 am

The other point specific to Sag A* picture is in that case related to our position with respect to the alleged BH. If the BH exists, it is fed by matter from our galaxy. Therefore the accretion disc must lie in the galactic plane. Therefore the picture of the BH should show a diametral band, in front of the black central region, representing the accretion disc seen from our position. The ring outside can be explained by the light gravitation bending, but the diametral band (more or less thin) must be there. But it is not. So instead of a torus, we should see something like in this picture:

May 16, 2022 2:19 am

EHT also writes in the description of the image (extract from the EHT page link below):
Making of the image of the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way
The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration has created a single image (top frame) of the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy, called Sagittarius A* (or Sgr A* for short), by combining images extracted from the EHT observations.
The main image was produced by averaging together thousands of images created using different computational methods — all of which accurately fit the EHT data. This averaged image retains features more commonly seen in the varied images, and suppresses features that appear infrequently.”

So if we take the picture and change contrast we find that the center is not empty at all and the outer shape is not a torus, but it has several protuberances (see pic below I have just elaborated)

Reply to  Luigi
May 16, 2022 9:08 pm

No one should expect a perfect torus with a well-defined hole. What you are calling the center is probably just stuff between us and the torus, not necessarily in the center of the torus. (It could possibly be on the far side of the torus, with the gravity of the black hole having bent the light coming from the far side around itself.) “Protuberances” are quite possible, as stuff falls from the outside in–for instance, the trails left behind by stars falling in (the distorted remains of the stars could be the bright patches in the torus itself). Remember that the whole (I almost wrote “hole”) picture is about ten light-minutes across, which is just over the distance from the Earth to the Sun. So as stuff falls towards it, there are going to be temporary distortions from a perfect torus.

Thomas Edwardson
Reply to  mcswell
May 22, 2022 9:28 pm

Why are you defending the EHT? They admit themselves that their image is all model data. If you work backwards from the final image to the paths that the telescopes sampled through the image field, then the actual image that they could legitimately publish would look something like this …

May 16, 2022 7:31 am

Interesting that massive stars can form that close to a very “energetic” area.

Reply to  beng135
May 19, 2022 3:05 am

I like Miles Mathis for his way of explaining things, or taking you along with his thoughts.

preceded by

Go to the home page, scroll through the contents.
At least read the Preface, and so on. Go to papers in chapters that might interest.

Why is the sky blue, for instance. What about tides. What about the charge field, & etc.

So if someone teased out a unified field theory from existing original works, and pointed out the original mistakes, would they be celebrated or ignored?

Largely ignored, in his case, but not entirely. Seems like mainstream is taking some notice.

I like his art too, but can’t take too much of the conspiracy theory and genealogy updates.

Still, I think that there is a lot of useful thought and material for consideration within.

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