Despite their bad reputation as horrifying cosmic monsters that devour entire stars, black holes are also playing crucial roles in the existence of galaxies. Sagittarius A proves it, the supermassive black hole located at the center of our Milky Way galaxy.
Black holes have infinite gravity, and that’s why they devour anything that gets too close. While some theories are stating that an object falling into a black hole won’t be destroyed, it’s certainly not worth the risk of jumping into one to see for sure.
25,800 light-years away from Sagittarius A
Although 25,800 light-years sound like a huge distance, it’s 2,000 light-years closer than what the previous measurements were indicating. The new conclusion comes from a study that is part of the VERA Experiment, or the VLBI Exploration of Radio Astrometry. The scientists used four Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) telescopes located in Japan.
Tomoya Hirota, leader of the study and a professor in the Department of Astronomy at SOKENDAI, declared:
These results can be used to estimate other astronomical parameters such as the distribution of dark matter and its density around the solar system, and could even help scientists predict how often we should see hypothetical dark matter particles, if they exist.
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) determined back in 1985 the distance between our planet and the supermassive black hole from the center of the Milky Way, and it contained the 2,000 light-years error.
No need to worry
Earth is still at a very safe distance from the Sagittarius A black hole, as the researchers involved in the new study also noted.
Dark matter remains a huge mystery for science, as it’s yet unknown its structure, what is it made of, and its origin. Instead, scientists know that it’s not made of usual atoms like the matter we interact with every day and that it plays several crucial roles in the Universe. Without dark matter, the existence of galaxies wouldn’t be possible.