Glimpsing Matter at the Brink

Science  30 Apr 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5671, pp. 689-692
DOI: 10.1126/science.1095954

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Most astronomers are comfortable with the notion of a black hole at the center of our Galaxy, but defining and measuring its size is an extremely difficult matter, mostly because it is so small from our distant vantage point. In his Perspective, Morris discusses results reported in the same issue by Bower et al. on new measurements of the size of the radio-emitting region immediately surrounding the Galactic black hole. By observing at the shortest possible wavelengths with very long baseline interferometry, the authors have been able to resolve the intrinsic size of the black hole region in spite of the interstellar interference that has plagued previous attempts.