I Observation of the Messier 87 Super Massive Black Hole

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This week, leading up to the release of the pictures of the super massive black hole Sagittarius A* at the center of the milkyway, I have done a bit of background research on the topic and learn that they are also looking at trying to get an picture of the super massive black hole at the center of Messier 87. That black hole is suppose of be a lot larger then Sagittarius A* but it is like 53 million light years away compared to Sagittarius A* which is only 26000 light years away. Black holes are fairly dark and small so if it was so hard getting an image of one that is only 26000 light years away, it seems impossible to get a picture of one 53 million light years away. Does any one know how they plan on getting an image? It is actually a lot more active then Sagittarius A* so I can see that playing a factor but I just cant get over the distance and how the difficulty should seemingly increase by many orders of magnitude.
 

Orodruin

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The distance to SgrA* is about 1/2000 of that to M87. The mass (and therefore the radius) of the M87 supermassive black hole is about 2000 times as large as SgrA* (probably a little less) so the angle they both span in the sky should be comparable.
 

davenn

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That black hole is suppose of be a lot larger then Sagittarius A* but it is like 53 million light years away compared to Sagittarius A* which is only 26000 light years away. Black holes are fairly dark and small so if it was so hard getting an image of one that is only 26000 light years away, it seems impossible to get a picture of one 53 million light years away. Does any one know how they plan on getting an image?

One big advantage with M87, that you may be unaware of, is that we can view it from a relatively unobstructed position from outside of the galaxy. .... a birds eye view, if you like.

The HUGE disadvantage with trying to "see" into the core of the Milky Way is that the view is severely obstructed by stars, dust and gas etc. Using radio and infra-red telescopes astronomers can get past some of that obstructing material, but it is far from an idea situation. So, even tho M87 is millions of lightyears away, our vantage point gives us a much clearer view.

You may also not realise just how big M87 is, it is super massive, one of the largest galaxies out there. totally dwarfing the Milky Way .....

galaxies.gif



Dave
 

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