Scientists have created a 360-degree virtual reality (VR) simulation of Sagittarius A* - a supermassive black hole sitting at the centre of our galaxy. According to scientists, this simulation will allow people to visualise a black hole system in a highly engaging way using any commonly available VR console.
The team that created the VR simulation included scientists from Goethe University in Germany and Radboud University in The Netherlands.
Scientists produced the simulation using a series of images created by utilizing the recent best-fit models of observations of Sagittarius A*. Then, they combined all these images together to generate a complete 360-degree VR simulation of the surrounding environment of Sagittarius A* and its event horizon.
Sagittarius A* (also called Sgr A*) is a compact astronomical radio source located at the centre of the Milky Way. The radio source sits close to the border of the constellations Scorpius and Sagittarius.
Karl Jansky was the first to discover a radio signal originating from a location at the centre of our galaxy, in the direction of the constellation of Sagittarius. In 1974, two astronomers Robert Brown and Bruce Balack discovered Sgr A* using the baseline interferometer of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.
Robert Brown gave the name Sgr A* to the black hole in a 1982 paper. According to him, the radio source was "exciting" and scientists use asterisks (*) to denote the excited states of atoms.
"Our virtual reality simulation creates one of the most realistic views of the direct surroundings of the black hole and will help us to learn more about how black holes behave," said Jordy Davelaar, corresponding author of the study.
According to Davelaar, it is impossible for humans to travel to a black hole; therefore, simulations like this can help people understand these complicated systems in a better way while sitting at their homes on Earth.
The details of the study are published in the journal Computational Astrophysics and Cosmology.
New regulation expected to cut greenhouse gas emissions by about 17 million metric tonnes between 2020 and 2050
Molybdenum ditelluride is a two-dimensional material that can be easily stacked into multiple layers to create a memory cell
New light-guiding nanoscale device can control and monitor a nanoparticle trapped in a laser beam with high sensitivity
Optical traps are scientific instruments in which a focused laser beam is used to exert an attractive or repulsive force on a microscopic object to hold it in place
Scientists estimate that the exoplanet has already lost up to 35 per cent of its mass over its lifetime