For the first time ever, astronomers have visualized the supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A*, at the center of the Milky Way galaxy, according to an article published in the open access journal Computational Astrophysics and Cosmology.
Using recent astrophysical models of Sagittarius A*, scientists from Radboud University, The Netherlands and Goethe University, put together a series of images that resulted in a degree virtual reality simulation of the black hole, which anyone can viewed on widely available VR consoles.
According to the authors of the study, such virtual reality simulations could prove to be extremely useful when studying Black Holes.
“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. Traveling to a black hole in our lifetime is impossible, so immersive visualizations like this can help us understand more about these systems from where we are.,” explains Jordy Davelaar, one of the authors of the study.
But in addition to allowing experts to view Black Holes in an unprecedented way, the authors of the study explain that the virtual reality simulation could help encourage the general public, including children, to take a greater interest in astrophysics and astronomy.
“The visualizations that we produced have a great potential for outreach. We used them to introduce children to the phenomenon of black holes, and they really learned something from it. This suggests that immersive virtual reality visualizations are a great tool to show our work to a broader audience, even when it involves very complicated systems like black holes,” added Davelaar.