On The Existence Of A Supermassive Black Hole In The Milky Way
0 comment Sunday, May 11, 2014 |
Yesterday I went to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich to listen to a lecture by Dr Omar Almaini from the University Of Nottingham.
The talk covered the nature of supermassive black holes, why we think that they exist and how to discover them which was fascinating.
However, as an artist, I was moved by the visual data that Dr Omar Almaini provided along with his talk.
This video shows a cluster of stars hidden behind the black dust of the milky way. The camera used to capture this information was specifically designed for this purpose, as scientists were fascinated to discover if there was a black hole lurking in our galaxy.
For scientists to determine if a black hole did exist in our galaxy, the scientists would need to track the movement of stars. If the stars were found to be moving around, then this would become evidence of a black hole in our galaxy.
Dr Omar Almaini described this clip as "pure unadulterated data straight from the telescope". This video shows that stars are in fact orbiting a central point of gravity within the space of a few decades, so most scientists now believe that a dormant black hole does exist in the Milky Way.
Using this definition of "dormant", there are no collisions of planets / there is no fuel for the black hole to emit any kind of radiation. It is also rather unlikely that we will get sucked in to the black hole any time soon!
Using this data, scientists have been able to make models of the stars orbiting the black hole as a visual aid. (Towards the end of this clip).
I am always impressed by any super-intelligent professor who can simplify complex ideas for consumption of the general public, so I found the talk by Dr Omar Almaini very educational.
I will leave you with an excerpt from "Physics Of The Impossible" by Michio Kaku, on the scientist Albert Einstein.
"What was the secret of his genius? Perhaps one clue to his genius was his ability to think in terms of physical pictures (e.g. moving trains, accelerating clocks, stretched fabrics) rather than pure mathematics.
Einstein once said that unless a theory can be explained to a small child, the theory was probably useless;
that is, the essence of a theory has to be captured by the physical picture; the mathematics would come later".

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