New South African Telescope Releases Epic Image of the Galactic Center


The black hole at the center of the Milky Way and filaments.
Image: (Credit: SARAO)

You’re looking at the center of our galactic home, the Milky Way, as imaged by 64 radio telescopes in the South African wilderness.

Scientists released this image today to inaugurate the completed MeerKAT radio telescope. But these scopes form part of an even more ambitious project: the Square Kilometer Array, a joint effort to build the world’s largest telescope, spanning the continents of Africa and Australia.

This image shows filaments of particles, structures that seem to exist in alignment with the galaxy’s central black hole. It’s unclear what causes these filaments. Maybe they are particles ejected by the spinning black hole; maybe they are hypothesized “cosmic strings;” and maybe they’re not…

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