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Infinity at the Center of the Galaxy

  1. Aug 20, 2011 #1

    Dotini

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    "Infinity" at the Center of the Galaxy

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110719151234.htm
    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/07/milky-way-ribbon/

    New observations from the Herschel Space Observatory show a bizarre, twisted ring of dense gas at the center of our Milky Way galaxy...Astronomers were shocked by what they saw -- the ring, which is in the plane of our galaxy, looked more like an infinity symbol with two lobes pointing to the side. In fact, they later determined the ring was torqued in the middle, so it only appears to have two lobes.

    According to Wikipedia and National Geographic, there is a massive black at the center of our galaxy at Sagittarius A. Yet there is no Sagittarius A or black hole shown in the Herschel observations that I can see. Are there now to be two centers of our galaxy? What happened to the black hole? Lost, stolen, dissolved or never there to begin with? Do other spiral galaxies work like ours does? I suspect that they do.

    Respectfully submitted,
    Steve
     
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  3. Aug 20, 2011 #2

    Janus

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    Re: "Infinity" at the Center of the Galaxy

    The ribbon shown is 600 light years across. The black hole is estimated to be no larger than 17 light hours across, that is 1/309176 the size of the ribbon. It is there, it is just way too small to be resolved in an image that shows that whole ribbon.
     
  4. Aug 20, 2011 #3

    Chronos

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    Re: "Infinity" at the Center of the Galaxy

    Later in the first article linked it is noted
    "... Astronomers say that the center of the torqued portion of the ring is not where the center of the galaxy is thought to be, but slightly offset. The center of our galaxy is considered to be around "Sagittarius A*," where a massive black hole lies. According to Noriega-Crespo, it's not clear why the center of the ring doesn't match up with the assumed center of our galaxy. ..."
     
  5. Aug 21, 2011 #4
    Re: "Infinity" at the Center of the Galaxy

    Sometimes this thought comes to my mind.
    As our technology improves, as we see more and more of the center clearly, and find there is no 'black hole' in there as prescribed. And that motions of surrounding stars orbiting the center can be explained by other objects around, what would be the reactions of astronomers, astrophysicists?

    Will they search for blackholes somewhere else? Will they insist there's a blackhole at the center which changed because of aging? etc.
     
  6. Aug 21, 2011 #5

    DaveC426913

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    Re: "Infinity" at the Center of the Galaxy

    Why have this thought?

    (If they see more an more clearly and find there is a stuffed panda bear at the centre, what would their reactions be?)

    It sounds like you think they're clinging to a theory that is becoming increasingly unsupported by observations and models. Why do you think this?
     
  7. Aug 21, 2011 #6
    Re: "Infinity" at the Center of the Galaxy

    Because we know so very little about the universe, there are so many unknowns, so many variables, our current theories satisfy the objects we know exist. I think the thought behind my question was how would our theories change when objects we didn't know exist were discovered?

    We didn't even know Neptune (or Uranus?) has rings like Saturn until a close encounter by a probe. We didn't even know until recently a small rock is tagging along with the earth. So many surprises await us, only time will tell.
     
  8. Aug 21, 2011 #7

    phinds

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    Re: "Infinity" at the Center of the Galaxy

    The observations say unequivably that there HAS to be a super massive object at the center of the galaxy. There is no other explanation for the observed motion of the stars at the center. The size of the object is much less well known so you could argue that it isn't a black hole but just something super-massive. Problem with that is that the gravity would MAKE it a black hole if it weren't already.

    So you can hypothesize all you want but it isn't going to change the fact that there is a super massive black hole at the center of the galaxy.
     
  9. Aug 21, 2011 #8

    phyzguy

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    Re: "Infinity" at the Center of the Galaxy

    If you think this, you clearly have not studied the data. Look at this paper, especially Figures 13 and 16:

    http://arxiv.org/abs/0810.4674v1

    There are a large number of stars orbiting the central black hole whose orbits have been determined to high accuracy. One of them (Figure 13) has even been plotted around an entire orbit. All it takes is Kepler's laws to determine the mass of the object around which they are orbiting - about 4 million times the mass of the sun. So there is clearly a very massive object around which the stars are orbiting, and this object is invisible. Since Einstein's theory has been tested to high accuracy and has always agreed with experiment, and since it predicts the existence of black holes, we believe this massive, invisible object is in fact a black hole. What else would you suppose it be??? How can this be explained by "other objects around"??? What "other objects"???
     
  10. Aug 21, 2011 #9

    Dotini

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  11. Aug 21, 2011 #10

    phyzguy

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    Re: "Infinity" at the Center of the Galaxy

    In a word, no. This graph is showing the rotation speed of objects very far from the center of the galaxy. This graph refers to the galaxy UGC 9242, which is 66 million light-years away. So the first point, at ~1 arcsec from the center, represents the rotation speed of the closest stars measured, which are about 300 light years from the center of this galaxy. By comparison, the images of the stars orbiting the center of the Milky Way galaxy are about .01 light years from the center of the galaxy - vastly closer. We are looking at two very different things.
     
  12. Aug 21, 2011 #11

    Dotini

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    Re: "Infinity" at the Center of the Galaxy

    600 or 0.01? Who's right?

    Respectfully submitted,
    Steve
     
  13. Aug 21, 2011 #12

    phinds

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    Re: "Infinity" at the Center of the Galaxy

    It seems that you are not paying any attention to the posts in this thread. The figure of 600 is the diameter of the infinity thingy in light years. The figure of .01 is the diameter in light years of the orbit of the innermost stars that have been observed circling the black hole. The two have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

    I note that you are not responding to the comments on your odd disbelief about the black hole.
     
  14. Aug 21, 2011 #13

    Dotini

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    Re: "Infinity" at the Center of the Galaxy

    Very sorry, sir. I respectfully would like to point out that I did not realize that there were comments directed toward me. I thought they were to Neandethal00. I personally don't know enough to hold beliefs, only doubts and questions.

    Could I implore a kind-hearted mentor to display the twisted ring image, please? My computer skills are obviously commensurate with my knowledge of astronomy. I'm recently retired from Boeing, and I'm here trying to politely participate and learn something. I appreciate your patience and forbearance.

    Respectfully submitted,
    Steve
     
  15. Aug 21, 2011 #14

    DaveC426913

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    Re: "Infinity" at the Center of the Galaxy

    You linked to them in post 1...

    Very well...

    gas-ribbon-illustration-milky-way-center-herschel-telescope.gif
     
  16. Aug 22, 2011 #15
    Re: "Infinity" at the Center of the Galaxy

    I submit that it is not in fact an infinity symbol, but a Moebius strip, with a chiral handedness that reflects the predominance of matter vs. antimatter in our galaxy. I wonder what astronomers and astrophysicists will think when additional evidence demonstrates that I am correct. :smile:

     
  17. Aug 22, 2011 #16

    Janus

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    Re: "Infinity" at the Center of the Galaxy

    It's neither. As the article points out, it is a ring that is slightly twisted, viewed edge on.
     
  18. Aug 22, 2011 #17

    DaveC426913

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    Re: "Infinity" at the Center of the Galaxy

    I think he was kidding.

    (but it being a ring doesn't negate it being a Moebius strip :tongue: - at least geometrically. Physically of course, there are no "faces" so it's meaningless.)
     
  19. Aug 24, 2011 #18
    Re: "Infinity" at the Center of the Galaxy

    Ok, you brough me back to this thread. Like you I'm also here to learn by asking questions and expressing doubts.

    The question you raised about 600 LY or .01 LY also came to my mind after reading the posts. My immediate assumption was the 'infinity' symbol is at the center of Milky Way, and the closest stars (to the center) are outside the symbol. But from the picture and comments it appears that the 'infinity' symbol stretches over many stars near the center of the galaxy.

    I'm not an astronomer, so, I'll accept whatever is found to be true. I can jump ship in minutes, but professional astronomers can't.
     
  20. Aug 24, 2011 #19

    phyzguy

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    Re: "Infinity" at the Center of the Galaxy

    Neandethal00:
    I'm still not sure that you're getting it. The 'infinity' symbol is in the center of the galaxy, and the ribbon is about 600 light-years wide, like Janus said. The stars in the vicinity of the central black hole which have been used to determine the mass of the black hole are only 0.01 light-years from the center - i.e. that region is a tiny dot in the middle of this picture that is too small to see at this scale. The event horizon of the central black hole itself is about 25 million km across, or about 0.000002 light-years, and is too small to be seen in even our largest telescopes, although there are programs underway that should be able to resolve the event horizon of the central black hole using a world-spanning network of radio telescopes (VLBI) in the next few years.

    You didn't answer the questions as to why you doubt the existence of the central black hole.
     
  21. Aug 24, 2011 #20

    DaveC426913

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    Re: "Infinity" at the Center of the Galaxy

    He did answer them. He explained that he misunderstood and made some assumptions.

    He thought what he thought because he thought the infinity was smaller than the stars. Now that he's been enlightened that the infinity is vastly larger than the very centre point, he sees his mistake.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2011
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