The Herschel space observatory has made detailed observations of surprisingly hot gas that may be orbiting or falling towards the supermassive black hole lurking at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Herschel is a European Space Agency mission with important NASA participation.
Our galaxy’s black hole is located in a region known as Sagittarius A*, or Sgr A* for short, which is a nearby source of radio waves. The black hole has a mass about four million times that of our sun and lies roughly 26,000 light-years away from our solar system.
This story is an extension to the NASA Explorer Schools featured lesson, Mathematical Models: Black Holes. To access this featured lesson, visit the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus.
To read more about the observations, visit NASA’s Herschel Space Observatory Web page.