First ever image of a real life black hole unveiled

A groundbreaking achievement, when the image of the most mysterious object in the universe was recorded for the first time.

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Image of the black hole

As reported, today (April 10) experts in the EHT (Event Horizon Telescope) will announce a century-old concussion discovery about the black hole.

The EHT project was launched in 2006 with a mission to capture the first photo of something called "black hole" in the history. This is considered extremely difficult, because the black hole possesses tremendous gravity that even can absorb light into it.

To solve this issue, EHT will observe the "event horizon” - the boundary before a material is absorbed by the black hole and cannot return.

The project targets two giant black holes in the universe, the first one  is Sagittarius A, located in the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. It is four million times more massive than the Sun, located 26,000 light-years away. The other one is M87, located at the Virgo A galaxy center. It has a mass of 3.5 million times the Sun, 54 million light-years away.

Therefore, ability of getting the image of these two black holes seems to be impossible. This event is considered a massive success in the astronomical history.

To capture this black hole, a system of radio telescopes using a very long-distance baseline technique (Very Long Baseline Interferometry, VLBI) was used.

To capture this black hole, a system of radio telescopes using very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) was used.

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Radio Telescope

Due to the distance, the system of extremely accurate atomic clocks was attached to each telescope. Each telescope has collected 5,000 trillion bytes of data in two weeks, processed through a supercomputer so that scientists can get the image of a black hole to be obtained.

The published image shows that the black hole has a structure like a ring and its shadow (accretion disk) around the center is a pitch-black area.

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Brian Greene, a physicist at Columbia University, explained in a video for the World Science how Einstein’s ingenuity was proven today.

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Brian Greene

He said: “About a hundred years ago, Albert Einstein gave us a new description of the force of gravity, in which gravity exerts its influence through warps and curves in the fabric of space and time".

Just a couple of years later, Karl Schwarzschild – he was a German astronomer who was stationed on the Russian front in World War One and was charged with calculating artillery trajectories – somehow gets a hold of Einstein’s manuscript and realises something amazing.

“If you take a spherical object and squeeze it down to a sufficiently small size, according to Einstein’s math, the gravitational pull would be so enormous that nothing will be able to escape, not even light, and that is what we mean by a black hole".

“When Einstein caught a whiff of these results, he didn’t believe it. He didn’t think these objects would actually be out there in the universe".

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Albert Einstein

 “And yet in the ensuing decades, theoretical developments began to mount, showing that black holes were the inevitable outcome of massive stars who have used up their nuclear fuel, undergone a supernova explosion and the resulting core would have no ability to withstand the pull of gravity and would collapse into a black hole.”

EHT astronomers managed to photograph a black hole 6.5-billion times heavier than the Sun, from a staggering distance of of 323,324,400,000,000,000,000 miles (520,340,180,000,000,000,000km).

 

By: Peter Mckenzie

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