Black holes are something that both fascinates and terrifies people with their appearance, as well as the prospect of things being sucked into the unknown. In contrast, the milky way galaxy is a gorgeous sight to see- especially for those lucky enough to see it in person. It's hard to believe that these two astrological phenomena would ever cross paths, but it's important to remember that truth really is stranger than fiction.
According to Astronomy, researchers from the Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Garching, Germany have confirmed that there is a supermassive black hole inside the milky way. This discovery is found within the main part of the entire galaxy, making this a large, hard to miss aspect in our solar system.
The researchers from MPE made this discovery by using the European Southern Observatory’s GRAVITY instrument on the Very Large Telescope, or VLT. This piece of technology looks for infrared radiation flares that are coming from the accretion disc, located near Sagittarius A*, a huge object in the galaxy's center. While researchers had long suspected that a majority of galaxies have supermassive black holes of their own, they could never prove their theory — until now, that is.
While looking for this supermassive black hole, researchers kept their eyes on a star called S2, which orbits in and around Sagittarius A* every 16 years. During this time, three bright flares began traveling around the black hole at about 30 percent of the speed of light, or 216 million miles per hour. This rare sighting surprised all researchers involved, as this is now considered to be the closest and most detailed observations regarding material orbiting close to a black hole.
There's no doubt that this newfound discovery from space is extremely fascinating for most- and a little bit terrifying for some. But it's mostly the former for researchers, mainly because they have been able to prove the long-held theory about a black hole existing somewhere in the milky way. Only time will tell before we see how this discovery will affect or not affect any and all solar systems that exist within space.