Milky Way’s black hole pictured for FIRST TIME – and it proves Einstein right 100 years on

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First ever image of a black hole on the Milky Way revealed

The incredible snap was taken by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT)– the same instrument that captured the first-ever image of a black hole in 2019. The telescope has been probing Sagittarius A* – an elusive region located at the centre of our galaxy – the Milky Way – since 2015. Now, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) has shared its “groundbreaking” discovery with the world.

Announcing the breakthrough, EHT observational astronomer Sara Issaoun said: “Today, right this moment, we have direct evidence that Sagittarius A* is a black hole.

“It resides inside the dark region of the centre of this image, where gravity is so strong that light cannot escape.

“We call this region the shadow and it’s surrounded by very hot gas which we observe as the EHT.

“These radio waves create the glow.

“Because the size of a black hole is proportionate to the size of its mouth, our image tells us that the mass is four million times that of our Sun.

“It is really incredible that this prediction from Einstein’s theory of relativity matches the maths.”

The stunning image was captured in space

The stunning image was captured in space (Image: GETTY)

The snap was shared today during a press conference

The snap was shared today during a press conference (Image: EHT)

Sagittarius A*, roughly 27,000 light-years away, has been under the scope of astronomers for the last five decades.

Its event horizon – the boundary around a black hole where nothing can escape once crossed – has a radius of around six million kilometres.

But it is buried by all the gas and dust of the Milky Way, making it harder to spot than the black hole previously observed at the centre of Messier 87 (M87).

The holy grail for astronomers is to now directly observe the immediate environment of its event horizon.

Such observations offer the best way to probe directly the strong gravitational effects that are experienced near the regions of spacetime.

What exactly is a black hole?

What exactly is a black hole? (Image: DX)

This, experts at ESO say will, in the future, “opens a new avenue for testing general relativity”.

Black holes are the product of the famous theory developed by Einstein between 1907 and 1915 on how gravity warps the fabric of spacetime.

Dr Mark Norris, from the University of Central Lancashire, told Express.co.uk, that the German theoretical physicist theory could break down at this point.

He said: “Physics has done this amazing job of describing the entire universe in terms of four forces of nature – gravity, electromagnetism, the strong and weak nuclear forces.

READ MORE: China scientists stunned as huge sinkhole found hiding ancient forest: ‘Spectacular!’

Astronomers have been probing Sagittarius A*

Astronomers have been probing Sagittarius A* (Image: GETTY)

The first-ever image of a black hole was captured in 2019

The first-ever image of a black hole was captured in 2019 (Image: GETTY)

“The problem is, three of those forces – the electromagnetic, and the strong and weak nuclear forces – can all be described by one law of nature – quantum mechanics.

“Gravity cannot. We can describe perfectly what it does, but we cannot describe how it does it.

“So there must be gravitational law that fits quantum mechanics and the problem is, on Earth, we don’t have access to the extreme gravity needed to probe the limits of Einstein’s gravity, it works perfectly as far as we can tell”

“If you go to the most extreme gravity you can get – a black hole – the laws of physics start to break down and the clues start to be seen.

“The great hope is that those clues, signs that Einstein’s gravity doesn’t quite fit, will lead us to this new improved theory of gravity that is compatible with quantum mechanics.”

There are implications for Einstein's theory

There are implications for Einstein’s theory (Image: GETTY)

Dr Norris, a senior lecturer in astrophysics, said such a breakthrough “would be revolutionary”.

He added: “It would be the final theory of everything – a single law of physics that describes all the forces of nature.

“[With that discovery,] Einstein’s law will need to be edited.

“Newton’s law works perfectly well in the Solar System up to the point that you get to Mercury, then gravity gets too strong and you have to switch to Einstein’s description.

“It’s just a more complicated, more accurate description.

“Whatever law of gravity we come up with still has to reduce to being just like Einstein’s law and just like Newtons in the way they have been tested.

“It won’t be revolutionary in that sense, but it will allow us to make gravity work in extreme conditions.”