Image reveals ‘gentle giant’ at heart of Milky Way

A version of this story appeared in CNN’s Wonder Theory newsletter. To receive it in your inbox, Register for free here.


Whenever I travel I always try to catch the sunrise. There’s something about watching the light spread over a new place, with every aspect just begging to be explored.

It reminds me of the concept in astronomy of first light, when a new telescope observes the universe for the first time.

The James Webb Space Telescope won’t start capturing stunning, high-resolution views of the cosmos until this summer, but its first test images already reveal just how detailed our new perspective of the stars will be.

We will witness the light that has traveled from the distant universe across billions of years, fixing a point in time that has never been seen.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect is that we live in a time where incredible premieres happen frequently – and this week has been filled with them. What make you want to reach the sunrise.

We have finally examined the heart of our galaxy and discovered a “gentle giant”.

For the first time, astronomers have captured an image of the supermassive black hole, called Sagittarius A*, at the center of the Milky Way.

The presence of a huge object at the galactic center has been suspected for years, but it is the only direct visual evidence.

The feat, achieved by more than 300 astronomers using a global network of eight telescopes, took years.

The unprecedented image could pave the way for documenting the true motion of black holes, which could change our understanding of these extreme cosmic objects.

An asteroid crashed into Earth 66 million years ago, ending the age of the dinosaurs. Now researchers believe they have found a fragment of this space rock encased in amber.

Unearthed in the Hell Creek formation in North Dakota, it’s a piece of the puzzle that recreates that fateful day. Other clues include thousands of fossilized fish that breathed in debris and a leg from a dinosaur that may have witnessed the impact.

Together, these remarkable findings reenact the moments following the fatal explosion when the asteroid created the Chicxulub impact crater off the coast of Mexico.

The findings have been shared in a new documentary starring naturalist Sir David Attenborough and paleontologist Robert DePalma titled “Dinosaur Apocalypse,” airing this week on PBS.

Asian cheetahs, like this adult female named Dalbar who lives in Tehran's Pardisan Park, are paler in color and have thicker coats than African cheetahs.

Iran, the Asiatic cheetah was found in a house by conservation researchers in 2017 when it was 8 months old, likely about to be smuggled by wildlife traffickers.

She was brought to the Asiatic Cheetah Breeding Center at the Turan Biosphere Reserve in Tehran – and now Iran is the mother of three little cubs. One of the cubs died from lung malformations, the center’s veterinarian said.

The births mark the first time the critically endangered species has bred in captivity, according to the Iranian Cheetah Society. These amazing animals once lived across Central Asia.

Now the company says there are only about 12 left in the wild – which is why this newborn baby announcement is of such consequence.

When the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai submarine volcano erupted on January 15, 65 kilometers north of Tonga’s capital, it created one of the most powerful eruptions on the planet.

The “unusually energetic” eruption, which defied explanation, sent rippling pressure waves around the globe for six days. According to NASA, the plume from the Tonga eruption even brought hurricane-force winds into space.

And speaking of planetary rumbles, NASA’s Mars InSight lander just detected the biggest earthquake ever seen on the Red Planet – and scientists say it’s “the biggest”.

Arabidopsis thaliana plants, commonly known as thalus cress, grow from the lunar soil.

Scientists were able to grow plants in lunar soil, using samples collected during the Apollo missions, in a landmark experiment.

It is the first time that a plant has grown and grown on Earth in the soil of another celestial body.

But the seedlings showed signs of stress as they struggled to adapt to the antagonistic foreign soil, turning different colors and showing slow development and stunted growth.

The researchers remain encouraged that the plants have grown in extraterrestrial soil – and this success could pave the way for lunar greenhouses that would support colonies on the moon in the future.

And keep an eye on the skies this weekend for a lunar eclipse. Here’s everything you need to know about how and when to watch.

You never know what you will find:

– Why do sleeping dogs seem to be running? Experts have shared the science behind what actually happens when your pup sleeps.

– China’s Zhurong rover has found evidence to suggest water has lingered on Mars much longer than expected – and the startling discovery was right under its wheels.

– Archaeologists excavated an underground Iron Age complex under a house in Turkey and found rare and ancient artwork of deities on the wall.

Do you like what you read? Oh, but there’s more. register here to get the next edition of Wonder Theory, brought to you by the CNN Space and Science writer, delivered to your inbox Ashley Stricklandwho marvels at the planets beyond our solar system and the discoveries of the ancient world.


Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: