NASA offers a virtual tour of the black hole in the center of the Milky Way

Exploring the heart of our Galaxy as if you were there, it is now possible thanks to a new experience in virtual reality, combining the cutting edge of astronomical observation and computer science.

Called  Galactic Center VR , the last experiment proposed by astrophysicists from NASA invites you to a trip to breathtaking. Crossing the data collected by several telescopes – including the observatory X-rays Chandra – with the latest advances NASA in terms of simulations generated by supercomputer, it traces 500 years of evolution of supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way . Thanks to its integration into a virtual reality environment (or VR for  virtual reality scientists hope to develop new ways to explore these simulations in the future.

Cosmic winds and black hole

In order to create  Galactic Center VR , the researchers modeled the winds produced by 25 Wolf-Rayet stars (represented by white crosses), hot stars of several tens of solar masses spitting matter at supersonic speed before exploding in supernova . The simulation then offers the possibility of observing how these stellar winds (visible in red and yellow) are attracted by Sagittarius A * before being completely engulfed beyond the horizon of the supermassive black hole .

See the invisible in the center of the galaxy

The collision of the winds causes the material that composes them to heat up, passing to several million degrees and producing a large quantity of X-rays (in cyan blue). Although Chandra is too far from the center of the galaxy to observe these collisions on an individual level, the global radiation produced by these events is intense enough to be detected.

The purple parts of the simulation indicate the areas where the winds and radiation overlap. The visualization as a whole covering three light years , the researchers multiplied the size of the marker symbolizing Sagittarius A * by 10,000, in order to make it easily visible. Discover the Galactic Center VR experience now , free on Steam and Viveport .