Black Hole Startrails

Star Trails at La Silla

Image Credit & Copyright: European Southern Observatory (ESO) Yuri Beletsky.

Like stars at the center of the Milky Way, these stars on the telescope appear to be orbiting a supermassive massive black hole. As they approach, they accelerate due to the force exerted upon them by the massive gravity well created by the black hole. After whipping around the mass in their highly elliptical orbits they slow again until their next approach many years later.

Of course the black hole in this image is the receiver hole in the de-commissioned 15 meter Swedish-ESO Submillimeter Telescope (SEST) at ESO’s La Silla Observatory. Behind this big fella is the dome of the 3.6 meter telescope with tail lights heading up the road as well as of course, the incredible set of startrails that encapsulates the entire scene.

Want to see the real thing?! Here’s a video provided by ESO of a 16 year-long study of almost 30 stars (especially star S2 or S0-2) orbiting Sagittarius A, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

ESO page for this image:

ESO page for SEST:


Image | This entry was posted in Astronomical Events, Astronomy (Learning), Astrophotography (DSOs), Astrophotography (Wide Field), Images, StarTrails and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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