The gravity of the first ever image of a black hole, explained

The gravity of the first ever image of a black hole, explained

The gravity of the first ever image of a black hole, explained

Today, in coordinated press conferences across the globe, EHT researchers revealed that they have succeeded, unveiling this first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow.

The image reveals the black hole at the centre of Messier 87, a massive galaxy in the nearby Virgo galaxy cluster.

Myth says a black hole would rip you apart, but scientists said this one is so big, and thus rotates so slowly, that someone could fall into it and not be torn to pieces.

He used the term "dark star" to introduce the concept of a star that would exist in space but not radiate "light", as we know it in the conventional sense, due to the capture of photons by massive gravitational fields. He referenced the many nights - with little sleep and low oxygen - the UMass researchers spent atop Mexico's fifth-highest peak, Sierra Negra, where the university's telescope sits at an elevation of 15,000-feet. He came up with calculations that would, later on, be proved more than one hundred years later.

The region that is at the outermost location of a black hole is known as the event horizon. Using an interferometry technique that makes use of the rotation of our planet, it forms a huge virtual telescope with a theoretical aperture the size of the diameter of the Earth.

The list of telescopes in the EHT network: ALMA, APEX, the IRAM 30-metre telescope, the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, the Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano, the Submillimeter Array, the Submillimeter Telescope and the South Pole Telescope. In his speech, he said, "It has a mass 6.5 billion times that of the Sun". The name is misleading, as their equipment isn't a telescope in the way we ordinarily think of it.

The researchers helped visualize data collected by a network of radio telescopes scattered around the world, which effectively worked as a giant, Earth-sized telescope, and they were also a part of the team managing one of the telescopes.


The breakthrough was announced in the journal The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Black holes are cosmic prisons, where nothing escapes, not light or even data. They also have a way of super-heating the material around them and warping spacetime. It is excellent to be able to finally imagine how a black hole looks like. While Chandra can't see the shadow itself, its field of view is much larger than the EHT's - so Chandra got a much better view of the jet of high-energy particles launched outward by the intense gravitational and magnetic fields around the black hole.

Controversial men's rights activist Roosh V tweeted the picture of the black hole, alongside a snap of Bouman, the scientist responsible for the algorithm that captured the image.

It sounds odd to keep saying Einstein is right, but every time his general relativity theory is confirmed, "we kill a cloud of alternative theories" and gain better understanding how to create an even more comprehensive theory of physics, said Ethan Vishniac of Johns Hopkins University.

The theory of black holes dates back to 1916 when Albert Einstein speculated their existence in his theory of Relativity. In the theory, Einstein predicted that dense, compact regions of space would have such intense gravity that nothing could escape them. For the past few years, Bouman directed the verification of images and selection of imaging parameters.

For example, if our Sun were to collapse down to a black hole, the radius of its event horizon would be just 3km.

As the telescope is located in a desert at an altitude of 5,000 meters, where low atmospheric pressure prevents the operation team from using hard discs to read out data, the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan also provided technologies necessary for sending data to a facility at a lower altitude using light fiber cables.

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