Washington: A new research has revealed about the development of a new method of "de-blurring" deep space images that may pave the way for clearer pictures of things like black holes.
Carl Gwinn, a professor in UCSB's Department of Physics, and colleagues have analyzed images collected by the Russian spacecraft RadioAstron, which was launched into orbit from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, in July 2011, with several missions, one of which was to investigate the scattering of pulsars, the cores of dead stars, interstellar gas.
The team examined additional observations of the source that marks the Milky Way's central black hole, Sagittarius A-Star (A*), which is visible at radio, infrared and X-ray wavelengths.
This massive black hole, which contains 4 million solar masses, does not emit radiation but is visible from the gas around it and the gas is being acted upon by the black hole's very strong gravitational field.
The wavelengths that make Sagittarius A* visible are scattered by interstellar gas along the line of sight in the same way that light is scattered by fog on Earth.
Gwinn, who found that the images taken by RadioAstron contained small spots, said that he was quite surprised to find that the effect of scattering produced images with small lumps in the overall smooth image and they call these substructure.
Gwinn added that some previous theories had predicted similar effects in the 1980s and a quite controversial observation in the 1970s had hinted at their presence.
The study is published in the current issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.